## Word Problems

Word problems can be a great cause of frustration for a lot of students. This page is dedicated to helping you get more comfortable with word problems, so that you can better assist your child at home. The strategies and tips that I explained below are ones that I use daily in the classroom and find really helpful. The practice problems are provided so that you can get an idea of what word problems look like in geometry. I hope you find this information useful and if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to call!

## Articles

## Article #1- Word Problems and the Language Connection

This article explains strategies that help students understand word problems by connecting math and literacy. One of the strategies described in this article is called the "stage freeze". In this strategy, students work together to turn word problems into interactive skits, that the entire class can participate in. First, students need to take a word problem and turn it into a skit. During the performance, the actors will yell "Freeze!" when they encounter a part in the skit, where computation is required by the audience. The audience needs to complete the computation for the skit to continue. The actors and audience go back and forth until the skit is complete and the audience has their answer to the word problem. This activity helps students to see how word problems are constructed. It also helps students to see the connection between math and literacy when working with word problems.

## Article #2- Learning through Problems: A Powerful Approach to Teaching Mathematics

This article focuses on strengthening students problem-solving skills through daily exposure to word problems. Practice with problem-solving enhances student learning in several different ways:

- Using everyday contexts in word problems allows students to connect their life outside of school to mathematics
- Word problems require students to reflect on and communicate about their learning
- New problem solving strategies emerge as students are exposed to a variety of word problems
- Students have various oppertunities to develop problem solving skills because word problems can be applied to every strand of mathematics
- Students will develop confidence through repeated exposure to word problems and will become risk-takers

## Key Words

The key to solving word problems is knowing what the problem is asking you to do. To figure this out your child will need to identify the "signpost" or the key word in the problem. The "signpost" or key word in the problem, tells your child what operation needs to be used, in order to solve the problem correctly. A lot of times, these key words or "signposts" can be confusing and can leave your child not knowing what the problem is asking of them. Below I created a list of "signposts" that you and your child can use as a reference when solving word problems. The more your child understands "signposts" and their importance, the more enjoyable word problems will become. I recommend that you print this list out so that your child can use it as a reference during homework ,or anytime the two of you are reviewing word problems together.

*This list is an exact copy of a list I found online and I have posted the link to this website below:

Key Words List

*This list is an exact copy of a list I found online and I have posted the link to this website below:

Key Words List

## Aditionplus
sum total added to in all more than gain of additional all together combined how many all together how many in all increase of increased by |
## Subtractionminus
difference change taken from have left left over less than loss of remaining how many left how many remain how much less decrease decreased by how much more |
## Multiplicationproduct
times of twice double triple |
## Divisionquotient
goes into per half third divided by divided into equally evenly split |

## Strategies

- Reread the problem aloud with expression
- Highlight the vocabulary signpost
- Draw a visual of the problem
- Create a table
- Re-write the problem in your own words to make the problem easier to understand
- Teach the problem using a small chalkboard or a whiteboard
- Check your math notebook to find similar problems
- Guess and Check- make a educated guess about the answer and check to see if your correct

## Tips

I found really helpful information online that explains a general procedure for solving a word problem from start to finish. I really liked this procedure for solving word problems because it doesn't just stop once the problem is solved. By reviewing this procedure with your child at home, you will help them analyze their work after the problem is completed. This is a really important step because it will force you child to think about what strategies worked and which strategies didn't work for a particular problem. Your child can then apply what he/she learned, the next time they encounter another word problem.

*I copied this information straight from the website and I've posted the link to the website below:

A Procedure for Solving Word Problems

*I copied this information straight from the website and I've posted the link to the website below:

A Procedure for Solving Word Problems

**General Tips**

Learning how to solve problems in mathematics is knowing what to look for. Math problems

often require established procedures and knowing what and when to apply them. To identify

procedures, you have to be familiar with the problem situation and be able to collect the appropriate information, identify a strategy or strategies and use the strategy appropriately.

**1.Clues:**

- Read the problem carefully.
- Underline clue words.
- Ask yourself if you've seen a problem similar to this one. If so, what is similar about it?
- What did you need to do?
- What facts are you given?
- What do you need to find out

**2. Game Plan:**

- Define your game plan.
- Have you seen a problem like this before?
- Identify what you did.
- Define your strategies to solve this problem.
- Try out your strategies. (Using formulas, simplifying, use sketches, guess and check,
- look for a pattern, etc.)
- If your strategy doesn't work, it may lead you to an 'aha' moment and to a strategy that does
- work.

**3. Solve:**

- Use your strategies to solve the problem

**4. Reflect:**

- This part is critical. Look over your solution.
- Does it seem probable?
- Did you answer the question?
- Are you sure?
- Did you answer using the language in the question?
- Same units?

## Practice Problems

## Problem #1-

Kim knows that the street sign is a polygon with exactly 3 angles and 3 sides. What is the shape of the street sign?

## Problem #2-

Max is looking at a rectangular prism. He notices that it has has 12 edges and 6 faces. How many vertices does the rectangular prism have?

## Problem #3-

Sarah is looking at a polygon with 5 sides. What is the name of the polygon that Sarah is looking at?

## Answers to Practice Problems

## Problem #1- Kim knows that the street sign is a polygon with exactly 3 angles and 3 sides. What is the shape of the street sign?

The best way to find out the shape of the street sign is to start drawing pictures. The first thing you want to to is look at the problem and consider the information that is given to you. We know that the street sign is a polygon, it has 3 angles, and it has 3 sides. Take the information you know about the street sign and use it to draw a picture. If it makes it easier, you can label the number of angles and sides as you go.

**Answer-**Triangle## Problem #2- Max is looking at a rectangular prism. He notices that it has has 12 edges and 6 faces. How many vertices does the rectangular prism have?

In this problem, you know that you are dealing with a rectangular prism. The first thing you want to do is think about what a rectangular prism looks like and then draw it. The problem tells you that a rectangular prism has 6 faces and 12 edges. If it makes it any easier, you can label the faces and edges of the rectangular prism. The signpost in this world problem is "how many". If you reference the list of keywords, you will notice that when you see "how many" written in the problem, you know that you are going to have to use addition to find the answer. Lastly, use the picture to add up all the vertices.

**Answer-**8 vertices## Problem #3- Sarah is looking at a polygon with 5 sides. What is the name of the polygon that Sarah is looking at?

Just like in problem #1, the best way to find the answer to this problem is to start drawing pictures. Think about what information the problem already gives you. You know that the shape is a 5 sided polygon. This problem might require you to refer to class worksheets or a math website. To solve this problem, you must understand that polygons get their names according to their number of sides. In this case, the polygon is 5 sided, therefor we know that it is a pentagon.

**Answer-**Pentagon## References:

http://www.beltonschools.org/_layouts/BSDDOcuments/SPED/stratograms/Math%20Strategies%20Word%20Problems.pdf

http://capilanoelementary.weebly.com/uploads/8/0/7/7/8077152/key_words_for_math_word_problems.pdf

Learning through Problems: A Powerful Approach to Teaching Mathematics

Paul R. Trafton and Carol Midgett

Teaching Children Mathematics , Vol. 7, No. 9 (MAY 2001), pp. 532-536

Published by: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41197680

WORD PROBLEMS AND THE LANGUAGE CONNECTION

Karl A. Matz and Cynthia Leier

The Arithmetic Teacher

Vol. 39, No. 8 (APRIL 1992), pp. 14-17Published by: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41195168

http://capilanoelementary.weebly.com/uploads/8/0/7/7/8077152/key_words_for_math_word_problems.pdf

Learning through Problems: A Powerful Approach to Teaching Mathematics

Paul R. Trafton and Carol Midgett

Teaching Children Mathematics , Vol. 7, No. 9 (MAY 2001), pp. 532-536

Published by: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41197680

WORD PROBLEMS AND THE LANGUAGE CONNECTION

Karl A. Matz and Cynthia Leier

The Arithmetic Teacher

Vol. 39, No. 8 (APRIL 1992), pp. 14-17Published by: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41195168