17 Strategies for Teaching Students to Solve Word Problems

Are you looking for teaching students to solve word problems? If so, keep reading.

1. Get the learner to talk through math word problems as they are solving them to find errors the learner is making.

2. Give the learner a math reference sheet to keep at their desk (e.g., steps used in doing subtraction, multiplication, addition, and division problems).

3. Get the learner to check their word problems using a calculator to reinforce the learning of math facts.

4. Teach the learner the ideas of more than, less than, equal to, and zero. The use of concrete objects should enable the learning process.

5. Do not require the learner to learn more information than they are capable of learning at any time.

6. Get the learner to be a peer tutor and teach a concept they have learned to another learner. This can serve as reinforcement for the learner.

7. Give practice solving math word problems using an app or a hand-held educational device that gives instant feedback to the learner.

8. Make sure the learner has mastery of math ideas at each level before introducing a new skill level.

9. Get the learner to manipulate objects (e.g., apples, oranges, toy cars, toy airplanes, etc.) as the operation is described.

10. Minimize the emphasis on competition. Competitive learning activities may cause the learner to hurry and solve math word problems incorrectly.

11. Give the learner a quiet space to work (e.g., “office” or study carrel, etc.). This should be used as a way to lessen distractions, not as a punishment.

12. Get the learner to question any directions, explanations, or instructions they do not understand.

13. Praise the learner for correctly solving math word problems : (a) give the learner a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the learner an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

14. Acknowledge quality work (e.g., display the learner’s work, congratulate the learner, etc.).

15. Consider using Alexa for the Math Classroom.

16. Try gamifying your math lessons.

17. Consider using one of the apps and tools from our many math app lists:

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