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 Post subject: Worded Maths Promblems
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:36 pm
Posts: 77
Hi

My ds finds it very difficult to follow long worded maths problems

I would appreciate some advise on how these can sort of questions can be tackled and also can you please recommend a good source of material for hi to practice with.

He has just started year 5 at school and is preparing for the Latymer exams.

Many thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:10 pm
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Location: Bucks
ritz667 wrote:
Hi

My ds finds it very difficult to follow long worded maths problems

I would appreciate some advise on how these can sort of questions can be tackled and also can you please recommend a good source of material for hi to practice with.

He has just started year 5 at school and is preparing for the Latymer exams.

Many thanks


Try first past the post numerical reasoning and the Schofield and sims books, they ease in to the worded problems.

My DD is very good at maths but found worded problems difficult, after using these book she was fine with them and scored high marks on the maths section of CEM.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:13 am
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I tell my students to understand all possible ways how a maths problem could be worded in english, understand what it means and then apply logic to convert into Maths.

If I reduce 5 from 11 --> reduce means subtract
If I take away 5 from 11 --> take away means subtract

I suggest that you do that homework first before trying word problems.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:49 am
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Good advice from parent 2013. Another good idea is for the student to read through the question at least twice. On the second path, he/she should highlight (in pencil, ink or whatever) the important words and numbers in the question. Words or phrases such as "is the same as" or "more than" are crucial and are surprisingly often ignored by the student.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:13 pm 
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Several times I've posted that students should make up their own problems.

For example, crisps cost 50p and an orange drink costs 70p. Now make up some questions.

First they do single-step.

' A packet of crisps cost 50p.
How much do I spend if I buy 8 packs?'

' A packet of crisps cost 50p.
How many can I buy for £2.50?'

What other ways could these be worded to mean the same thing?

Then move to multi-step. By constructing questions they learn how they work ...


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:43 pm
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Thanks a ton for all suggestions!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I couldn't recommend the underlining / highlighting method unless it is a key word such as 'not'. Children often miss the negatives in word problems. I've just written and trialled 8 primary school tests aimed at yrs 1/2 and 5/6 (650 questions and 100+ responses to each one). It has given me a good insight into children's successful working. The children who had underlined key information often missed crucial words. They find it difficult to work out what to underline.

Agree with G55 for writing their own questions. It also helps with English comprehensions.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:51 pm
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I agree with getting children's to make their own word problems, my ds hated word problems and would sit in the class silently when asked to do word problems, I tried getting him to underline it never worked, then we just had a go at making simple words problems which worked very well. He is now working on several steps word problems, he does find them difficult but able to do them it just takes alot of time, he will have a go at making his own long step word problems this week, I'm sure that will help him to work them out quicker.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:27 pm 
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I would also recommend sitting with them while they work through a variety of problems. Ask them to tell you how they are going to do it before they do it. You will quickly identify the sorts of question they struggle with / cannot do and you can then focus on these rather than worrying about all worded problems. I am sure there are a lot your child can do easily.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Cognitively fluency and the ability to remember basic mathematical operations are at the bottom end of the scale. Problem solving and reasoning are at the higher end - it isn't surprising that children find them hard.

Obviously some abstract maths is hard before experience has been gained but generally a word problem should contain the maths from a previous academic year. The numbers should be simpler as the child has to extract the maths before they can perform the operations required.

Missing number questions are a good bridge from pure arithmetic to problem solving and reasoning, e.g. 30 = 3 x box x 2
They remove the language problem but maintain the need for reasoning.


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