Your children's reading ability may impact their understanding of the problem. Discuss with them any language or vocabulary they may be unfamiliar with. It is always good to have a dictionary handy.
Solving Math Word Problems
Solving word problems can be both a challenging and rewarding activity (like many things that are challenging!). They help students to see math in the real world and they encourage and give reason for them to learn the underlying concepts and operations.
Below are some tips and techniques that can help with solving word problems.
- Read the question carefully. Depending on the complexity and length of the problem, it may require at least one re-reading.
- Take your time. This is perhaps easier to say than it is to do, especially if you are taking a test or being assessed against the clock. Nevertheless, time taken to fully understand a problem can be made up by more quickly solving it.
- Highlight key words, language, and phrases. Underline or use a highlighter pen. Take notes in the margin.
- Ignore irrelevant information. Sometimes information that does not relate directly to the problem is included. Score out such information so it does not cause confusion.
- Complete all the steps. In some multi-step word problems there can be a temptation to stop before all the steps are complete. For example, with "..how much is left?" type questions, the hard part is finding how much has been used, and since it takes so long to work this out, the final subtraction from the original total step can be forgotten.
- Write your answer in full. For example, if the question is "How many runs did John score?"; answer "John scored 8 runs." Do not just write "8".
- Show your working. This will help when you check your answer and, even if you get the final solution wrong, you might get credit for your correct steps and calculations.
- Check to see if your answer makes sense. Ask yourself whether your answer should be bigger or smaller than the number you started with? Check that it is.
You will find a listing of math word problem worksheets here.