You can read more about the Addition & Subtraction Word Problems Resource that I use in my classroom in this blog post. Removing the distraction of the numbers helps students focus on the situation of the problem and understand the action or relationship of the numbers.Below are five math problem-solving strategies to use when teaching word problems using any resource. It also keeps students from solving the problem before we talk about the relationship of the numbers.
The beauty of the blank spaces is that I can put any numbers I want into the problem, to practice the strategies we have been working on in class.Most of the time, my students just added the two numbers together without making sense of the problem. I am a big proponent of NOT teaching keyword lists.It just doesn’t work consistently across all problems.Younger students will act out problems, draw out problems with representations, and draw out problems with circles or lines. As the numbers get larger, the model needs to represent the relationship of the numbers Here is a student moving from drawing circles to using an inverted-v.Students should be solidly using one model before transitioning to another.Start your instruction with specific models and then allow students to choose one to use. Be purposeful in the numbers that you choose for your word problems.Different number sets will lend themselves to different strategies and different models.This page has a great collection of word problems that provide a gentle introduction to word problems for all four basic math operations.You'll find addition word problems, subtraction word problems, multiplication word problems and division word problems, all starting with simple easy-to-solve questions that build up to more complex skills necessary for many standardized tests.It’s a shortcut that leads to breakdowns in mathematical thinking.I talk more in depth about why it doesn’t work in The Problem with Using Keywords to Solve Word Problems.