Keywords For Solving Math Word Problems

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My previous blog post gives you my purpose for doing removing the numbers. JCU (Join Change Unknown) There were ____ kids on the playground. Even second graders solve these type of problems, but with more difficult number combinations.

JRU (Join Result Unknown) There were _____ kids on the playground. Did you notice that none of the problems have traditional keywords?

This revolutionized my thinking about how I was teaching word problems. It was so interesting to watch how children were solving problems and to see what was going on in their heads.

You can read all about how I teach math word problems and pick up a freebie of the word problems I use in my classroom in a previous blog post.

Knows the difference between pertinent and irrelevant information when solving problems 6.

Understands the basic language of logic in mathematical situations (e.g., "and," "or," "not") 7.In this blog post, I’m going to give you a few examples as to why teaching students how to look for keywords just doesn’t work and sets students up for failure in the long run.A quick google search landed me on these definitions for addition and subtraction: Those are the most basic definitions I could find. How many kids were on the playground at the beginning?When I first started teaching, I used to display lists of keywords that students could use to solve word problems. Give students something to look for when reading word problems to know when to add, subtract, multiply or divide. I learned that students should be taught how to understand the context of a word problem not to look for keywords. Five years later, I learned about problems types and got deep into the work of Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction (affiliate).Keep them in mind as we explore some addition and subtraction problems. JSU (Join Start Unknown) Some kids were on the playground. All of the above problems are join problems, which means that the operation is adding, although the unknown is in different places in each problem.Like I do for my classroom, I’m going to remove the numbers in the word problems so that you can concentrate on the words in the problem. The first two are the most basic problems that you would introduce to kindergarten and first graders.However, as fifth grade teachers know, key words only take the students so far.I have read many articles and blog posts that are adamant against teaching key words, but many of them do not offer an alternative.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.I really want my students to understand what the problem is asking them to do.


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