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Word Problems Issues

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My ds is using MUS Algebra. He is just okay at math, but word problems are really hard for him. He can never figure out what is being asked of him. I get so frustrated because I don't know how to help him without feeding him the answer.


Does anybody have any suggestions? I don't have any money to put into any curriculum, so that's out of the question.

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One thing we use sometimes that really helps is writing out the answer in the form of a sentence with a blank, then listing only the relevant information. So the problem might be:


Jane has 4 apples. Anne has 10 grapes. John has 16 oranges. If Nelson eats 4 grapes, 3 apples, and 4 oranges, what percentage of John's fruit has he eaten?


So your sentence is:


Nelson ate ____% of John's fruit.


And the relevant facts are:


John started with a total of 16 fruits.

Nelson ate 4 of John's fruits.




Writing it out is really important. Referring to it again and again grounds the student back into what the problem is asking for and what the relevant facts are. It also gives a place right at the top of the problem to write the completed answer with the correct unites and labeling already in place.

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How old is your son? I started my son on algebra in 8th grade and he couldnt do work problems at all. We were using LOF and I called the company and spoke to the author! He said its a maturity thing, most kids cant understand algebra until they have hair in their armpits. He also said they always get stuck on the word problems.


We did more prealgebra for a while, and last year I noticed word problems werent tripping him up any more at all.


you might check out khan academy or purplemath, both of which are free, to find some things to extend your algebra curriculum, spreading it out so that he has more time to mature before getting to the really challenging stuff

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