Are you looking for ways to teach kids to solve word problems? If so, keep reading.
1. Talk about words and phrases that usually indicate a subtraction operation (e.g., difference between, from, left, how many [more, less], how much [taller, farther, heavier], withdrawal, spend, lost, remain, more, etc.). Give the student a list of those words and phrases.
2. Let the student use a calculator when solving word problems.
3. Talk about words and phrases that usually indicate a multiplication operation (e.g., area, each, times, product, double, triple, twice, etc.). Give the student a list of those words and phrases.
4. Talk about words and phrases that usually indicate a division operation (e.g., into, share, each, average, monthly, daily, weekly, yearly, quotient, half as many, etc.). Give the student a list of those words and phrases.
5. Teach the student to convert words into their numerical equivalents to solve word problems (e.g., two weeks = 14 days, one-third = 1/3, one year = 12 months, one quarter = 25 cents, one yard = 36 inches, etc.).
7. Make the student read math word problems at least twice before starting to solve the problem.
8. Get the student to begin solving simple word problems that combine a single operation with words such as: 7 apples and 3 apples equal 10 apples. As the student shows success, slowly change the problems to a math word problem.
9. Show the student phrases to be translated into number sentences (e.g., six less than ten equals or 10 – 6 =) before introducing word problem.
10. Select a peer to model solving math word for the student.
11. Minimize the number of designated problems given to the student at one time (e.g., 5 problems instead of 10).
12. Show the student how to solve math word problems by reading the problem and solving the it on paper step by step.
13. Give the student a number line on their desk to use as a reference.
14. Talk with the student to explain (a) what they are doing wrong (e.g., using the wrong operation, failing to read the problem carefully, etc.) and (b) what the student should be doing (e.g., using an appropriate operation, reading the question carefully, etc.).
15. Assess the appropriateness of the tasks to ascertain (a) if the task is too easy, (b) if the task is too complicated, and (c) if the duration of time scheduled to finish the task is sufficient.
16. Correlate word problems with computation procedures just learned in the classroom (e.g., multiplication, operations with multiplication word problems, etc.).
17. Teach the student the meaning of mathematical terms (e.g., sum, dividend, etc.). Frequently review terms and their definitions.
18. Spotlight keywords in math problems (i.e., reference to the operation involved, etc.).
19. Give the student a checklist to follow when solving math word problems (e.g., what information is given, what question is asked, what operation(s) is used).
20. Teach the student why they are learning to solve math word problems. Give the student concrete examples and chances to apply these ideas in real-life situations.
21. Consider using Alexa for the Math Classroom.
22. Try gamifying your math lessons.
23. Consider using one of the apps and tools from our many math app lists: