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Why Are Word Problems so Hard? Presented by: Angela J. Williams

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What do we do to help students “survive” word problems? Locate the “rules” poster on your table and choose a volunteer to read it aloud! Start with rule #1

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Brainstorm Even with all of the things we have tried, students still struggle. What are some struggles your students have with word problems? Share!

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Teachers tell us that their students do not know how to approach word problems. They say that strategies, like key words, don’t seem to work. What are they to do? The word altogether is often taught as a “key word” to add. Teaching the use of key words is “a limiting, detrimental strategy.” Beth Hulbert and Marge Petit June 2011 4 Souder & Nesher, 1988 What research says!

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Example

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Recommended Strategy (Hulbert, 2009) 1.Read the problem, have students visualize, retell and make sense of the situation (without the question associated with the problem) 2.Consider all the questions that could be answered with the information in the problem 3.Solve the problem they created using pictures, drawings or manipulatives, etc. 4.Read the real question – solve the problem.

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Visualizing, Retelling and Sense Making During the physical education class, 25 of the students played in a soccer game, 13 of them played in a basketball game and 16 played in a baseball game.

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Predicting What questions can be answered by the information in the problem?

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Practicing **Solve some of the problems generated. **Encourage the use of drawings and models

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Solve the REAL Problem During the physical education class, 25 of the students played in a soccer game, 13 of them played in a basketball game and 16 played in a baseball game. What proportion of the students played soccer?

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Discussion What possible benefits are there to using this with students?

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What our COS Says: Instruction should include all types of problems. (Stigler, Fuson, Ham & Kim, 1986)

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Write a Word Problem 1) ___+ 8 = 34 2) 16 + ___ = 47 3) 7 + 29 = ___ 4) __ - 14 = 9 5) 73 - ___ = 38 6) 32 - 9 = ___

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Progression of Problem Types 1) RESULT/TOTAL UNKNOWN: Add to, Take from AND Put Together/Take Apart 2) CHANGE/ADDEND UNKNOWN: Add to, Take from AND Put Together/Take Apart 3) START/BOTH ADDENDS UNKNOWN: Add to, Take from AND Put Together/Take Apart 4) COMPARE: ALL types

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Dig Deeper Use Table 1 Addition and Subtraction Problem Types to DIG DEEPER 1) Read each problem generated and determine the problem type based on the chart from Appendix A of the CCRS. 2) Align each problem (the original plus any added with sticky notes) with Table 1 to determine if ALL Problem Types were used. 3) If ALL 12 Problem Types were NOT used, consider what you would have to DO or CHANGE in order to include these problem types. 4) Be prepared to share your discoveries with the group!

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