Strategies for Solving Math Problems
Math story or word problems can be difficult at first glance but don't let the wording scare you. There are many tricks and helpful hints to use to help you solve that math problem. The best advice that I can give is to take it slow and don't get scared by what you are reading. Take these easy steps and you will be solving story/word problems in no time and with ease.
First read the problem completely so that you can get an understanding of what is being asked in the question. You might have to read the problem over again several times and out loud to truly understand what is being asked of you.
List the important information from the problem; the variables, the numbers and the units of measures. Listing this information will help you to break down the problem even further. You will understand more of what is being asked of you in the problem and what your answer should look like.
Define the answers that you need such as units of measure. If you understand that your answer is supposed to be in inches or in feet that will help you to understand what you are looking for and in some cases you might be given a problem in inches but your answer needs to be in feet so this will definitely clear up what you are looking for in your answer.
Draw a picture if necessary or if a picture is described in the problem. Drawing a picture is a way to bring the question/problem to life. A visual is important so that you are able to see the question. Sometimes drawing a picture is the "ah ha" moment. Drawing a picture might be the one thing that actually helps you to see what the question is all about.
Key words can help you to understand what function needs to be applied in the problem to find the solution. Looking for key words can tell you whether you are supposed to add, subtract, multiply or divide. Look for key words given below:
Key words for addition
Key words for subtraction
Key words for multiplication
Key words for division
Percent (divide by 100)
Do the work by following the steps given in the story/word problem. Following the steps above and referring to the key words. Work slowly and once you have finished read over the story/word problem to make sure that you followed the steps carefully.
Steve walked from Town A to Town B. It took 1 hour 25 minutes to walk from Town A to Town C. Then it took 25 minutes to walk from Town C to Town B. He arrived in Town B at 2:45 P.M. At what time did he leave Town A?
Now we need to look over our steps to solve.
What do you need to find?You need to find what the time was when Steve left Town A.
How can you solve the problem?
You can work backwards from the time Steve reached Town B. Subtract the time it took to walk from Town C to Town B. Then subtract the time it took to walk from Town A to Town C.
Solve the problem
Start at 2:45. This is the time Steve reached Town B.
Subtract 25 minutes. This is the time it took to get from Town C to Town B.
Time is: 2:20 P.M.
Subtract: 1 hour 25 minutes. This is the time it took to get from Town A to Town C.
Steve left Town A at 12:55 P.M.
Using these steps will insure that you will understand and be able to solve the story/word problem and become a pro at deciphering the story/word problem code.
Introduction to Solving Word Problems
The Five Parts To a Word Problem
A One Unknown Word Problem
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