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Make Math Word Problems Simple

Student struggling with math

A common aspect of math that hinders many students’ confidence is math word problems. Figuring out these problems can be challenging for many students because they aren’t regular math problems; they involve reading and slowing down to interpret the question. Students have to have strong reading comprehension skills to figure out what the question is actually asking.

Reasons for Word Problem Stuggles:

To get the right answer in word problems, students have to be able to:

  1. Read the words.
  2. Choose which math operation to use.
  3. Solve the calculation correctly.

Simply put, math word problems require more steps than other math questions. Troubles with any of these steps can cause frustration and stress. Here’s why students might struggle with math word problems:

Trouble with reading: Proficient reading skills go a long way in deciphering the problem. If the student isn’t the best reader, they might have difficulties understanding and absorbing the information. 

Lack of interest or focus: Let’s face it, word problems aren’t the most exciting thing to do in class. Students may get bored and lose their focus on the problem or rush through it, resulting in the wrong answer by missing essential details. 

Difficulty picking up on clues and concepts: Clues in word problems are phrases that help kids figure out what they need to do to solve the problem. Even the strongest readers could struggle to find the clues and translating them into a number sentence.

Tips to Make Word Problems Make Sense

Tackle word problems with ease with these tips:

  1. READ – Read the word problem a few times, at least one time out loud. The C.U.B.E.S* method is great to do while reading the problem because it makes the student slow down and focus on the details.
  2. PLAN – Once you’ve found out what operations the problem asks you to use, make a plan to solve the most challenging step.
  3. SOLVE – Find the answer by going through the problem slowly and ensuring all work is shown.
  4. CHECK – Make sure that the answer makes sense for the question. Is it reasonable based on the information given?
  5. CONCLUDE – Write a complete sentence that describes your answer. Use words found in the problem to help further explain how the conclusion was met. It’s important to note that you should ensure your child is editing their concluding sentence before submitting to avoid simple mistakes. Use these Editing Tips

 C.U.B.E.S. Method:

  • C – Circle important numbers and labels. 
  • U – Underline the question. 
  • B – Box operation clues, i.e., multiplication, addition, etc. 
  • E – Examine the question. What information is already provided? What information is still needed, if any?
  • S – Solve it, step by step. (source)

GradePower Learning Can Help

If your child is still struggling with math word problems, we can help! Our personalized math programs put an end to math frustration. From First Grade to 12th Grade, we can support your child, teach them new study skills, and give them the math confidence they need to succeed in math word problems. Contact us today

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