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About three years ago, I created a strategy for teaching my students to solve word problems that does not rely on key words, and I want to share it with you today.
SRU (Separate Result Unknown) There were ___ kids on the playground. WU There are ___ boys on the playground and ___ girls on the playground. BAU (this is possible combinations, which is not often taught) There are ___ kids on the playground. As students begin to understand that one color of an object represents one part and another color another part, they can see how the parts come together and get broken apart. It’s the same type of problem but gives students a chance to practice different vocabulary. If you’re a second and third-grade teacher I highly recommend checking out both books because you have kiddos that will spend the grad levels.
How many could be boys and how many could be girls? Compare problems are the most difficult for students as it is all about comparing the relationship of the numbers. DU There are ___ boys and ___ girls on the playground. CQU There are __ more boys than girls on the playground.
Keeping this in mind, I teach word problems in terms of what the situation of the word problem is versus what key word is in the word problem.
Before I taught this strategy, many of my students read word problems in order to find the key words.
Generalizes from a pattern of observations made in particular cases, makes conjectures, and provides supporting arguments for these conjectures (i.e., uses inductive reasoning) 7.
Constructs informal logical arguments to justify reasoning processes and methods of solutions to problems (i.e., uses informal deductive methods) 8.
However, notice the verb phrase in all the problems that reveals that the problems are join problems are: came on. How many kids were on the playground at the beginning?
This set of words can be acted out in a classroom, even as simply as using hand motions. SSU (Separate Start Unknown) There were some kids on the playground. Like the Join problems, these separate problems are best learned through identifying the action and placement of the unknown. Students cannot depend on keywords to solve word problems and instead need to learn how to identify the action of the problem and figure out the unknown in the problem or what is missing in the word problem.
In this lesson, students will take turns acting as "math coaches" who will assist other students in solving word problems by identifying key words that usually indicate specific mathematical operations. Uses a variety of strategies to understand problem situations (e.g., discussing with peers, stating problems in own words, modeling problem with diagrams or physical objects, identifying a pattern) 2.
Represents problems situations in a variety of forms (e.g., translates from a diagram to a number or symbolic expression) 3.