In mathematics, the term “word problem” is often used to refer to any mathematical exercise which significant background information on the problem is presented as text rather than in mathematical notation.
Steps to solve word problems:
- Read the problem carefully, understand it.
- Underline the key words or the operation words and think about them.
- Do your working. Draw a picture if needed and write a number sentence for the problem, solve it.
- Carry the answer. Check your answer and communicate the solution, explain it.
Key words and catch phrases for word problems:
- Addition words: ‘add’, ‘altogether’, ‘both’, ‘in all’, ‘sum’, ‘total’, ‘combined’.
- Subtraction words: ‘difference’, ‘fewer’, ‘how many more’, ‘how much more’, ‘left’, ‘less’, ‘minus’, ‘need to’, ‘remains’, ‘subtract’, ‘-er’.
- Multiplication words: ‘times’, ‘every’, ‘at this rate’.
- Division words: ‘each’, ‘average’, ‘evenly’, ‘equal parts’, ‘distribute’, ‘separate’, ‘split’.
Why don’t you try some exercises.
- Elin has six more balls than Mei. Mei has nine balls. How many balls does Elin have?
- Jane has nine oranges and Sani has seven oranges. How many oranges do Jane and Sani have together?
- Ken’s apple weighs 100 grams, and Dan’s apple weighs 80 grams. How heavier is Ken’s apple?
- Kim buys 2 apples everyday. How many apples does she buy in a week?
- Ed reads 25 words per minute. At this rate, how many words does he read in one hour?
- Nick has 75 pencils and 15 boxes. How many pencils should he pack in each box so each box gets the same number of pencils?
- 20 grams.
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