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Solving Math Word Problems


Contrary to many students’ beliefs, using math doesn’t stop once they’ve graduated from school. In reality, math shows up in everyday life long after school; it’s crucial to encourage math confidence at an early age whenever possible for long-term success.

A common aspect of math that hinders 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 entirely—which students can struggle with these problems in a world of devices and distractions.

YOUR CHILD MIGHT STRUGGLE WITH WORD PROBLEMS BECAUSE…

They experience 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. 

They have 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.

They’re not interested or unfocused: 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. 

PUT AN END TO WORD PROBLEM ANXIETY

You can teach this strategy to your child so that they can tackle word problems with ease. 

  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 tips to ensure the student is getting full marks on their work!

* 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)

OXFORD LEARNING HAS A SOLUTION

If your child is still struggling with math word problems, we can help! Our personalized math programs put an end to math frustration. From Grade 1 to Grade 12, we can support your child, teach them new study skills and give them the math confidence they need. Contact us today! 

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