# Story Problems Resources?

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Hi all!

DS really struggles with story problems and I want to help him overcome this before starting 3rd grade.  For a little background, we started this year with Miquon and then switched to MIF 2 after the holidays.  We've kept Miquon as a supplement through this spring season.  Miquon helped DS immensely because he had a bunch of bad math habits from ps.  He's much conceptually stronger than he was when we started.  I knew that Miquon was weak in story problems, but I felt like we could catch it up later.

MIF has gone really well, and I thought DS was really getting the bar models for story problems.  I was wrong.  I think he's relying on me too much to get them started.  If he sees the completed bar model, he's all set and know whether to add or subtract.  Without me, not so much. :) Whenever we spiral back to these type of problems, he's overwhelmed.

We are wrapping up for the summer, but I plan to keep doing a little math and reading most days.  I bought the second grade Kumon word problems book, but it is not independent for him after a break from bar models.

What would you guys do?  I'm open to any suggestions, though I don't really want to spend a bunch.  I've thought about taking him back to really basic problems and using the c-rods to demonstrate the bar models.  Maybe he needs more concrete before moving to the pictorial.  Any ideas from those with great familiarity with the bar models or btdt moms?

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Check out the Process Skills in Problem Solving books for more hand holding or Singapore's Challenging Word Problems books for less. Samples of both can be found on the Singapore Math website.

We've used both with great success.

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I'm confused, why can't you just teach him to create the bar models that he knows how to use?

He's familiar with the concept and knows how to interpret them and can even use a bar model to solve a problem--great! He is ready to begin doing them himself. Read a problem and talk about the situation given--are the groups changing, if so how? Is the grouping getting bigger or smaller? Which operation does he think you should use in this situation?

So walk him through the process of learning to ID and build the bar models--first require that he reason out each and every step with you then once he can read and understand the problem well enough to tell you "1st draw X"  "now draw Y" and "now you should draw "Z" then he is ready to begin learning to draw the bar models.

Incremental scaffolding of a learning process is one of my favorite techniques--its tied with Direct Instruction and I LOVE Direct Instruction.

So first he's got to be able to reliably determine what a problem is asking and then he has to tell you what to write/draw and why and you draw the whole bar model.

Once that is in place, have him to do the draw "Y"--once he tells you what the 2nd step is, stop and hand him the marker and tell him to do it, then get the marker back and follow his directions to complete the problem.

(So you did a bar, then him, then you)

Once he is confidently directing you through the process and capable of doing the middle step, have him do and draw the middle and final step himself.

(So you do a bar, the him, then him again)

Once he can reliably "finish off" a problem, have him "start" the problems while you are right there with him the whole time.

(So he does a bar, then another, then the last one)

Don't expect this to happen over night--work at it each day. Literally do 1 or 2 problems a day and push him a little more each week or every other week. Kids will rise to the challenge if you give them the chance and push them. The fact that he can understand bar models that are already completed tells me that he's ready to learn to complete and then independently complete bar models.

Admittedly I tend to sometimes "over baby" the kids but it works out in that they not only achieve but learn and retain very well.

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Hi all!

DS really struggles with story problems and I want to help him overcome this before starting 3rd grade.  For a little background, we started this year with Miquon and then switched to MIF 2 after the holidays.  We've kept Miquon as a supplement through this spring season.  Miquon helped DS immensely because he had a bunch of bad math habits from ps.  He's much conceptually stronger than he was when we started.  I knew that Miquon was weak in story problems, but I felt like we could catch it up later.

MIF has gone really well, and I thought DS was really getting the bar models for story problems.  I was wrong.  I think he's relying on me too much to get them started.  If he sees the completed bar model, he's all set and know whether to add or subtract.  Without me, not so much. :) Whenever we spiral back to these type of problems, he's overwhelmed.

We are wrapping up for the summer, but I plan to keep doing a little math and reading most days.  I bought the second grade Kumon word problems book, but it is not independent for him after a break from bar models.

Make life easier on yourself: Forget about 2nd graders being independent. And 3rd graders. Resign yourself to the fate of sitting/hovering/babysitting them while they are doing seat work/chores/anything that SHOULD be done and DONE CORRECTLY. Take up knitting or hand stitching or some other quiet and relatively constructive hobby/chore while they are doing their work. Anything that he can and does do independent is a pleasant exception to the rule and is to be counted a blessing from the heavens.

What would you guys do?  I'm open to any suggestions, though I don't really want to spend a bunch.

Secondly, unless he's memorized every word problem given in MiF I would most certainly reuse those same problems--perhaps change the numbers here and there, but I can't imagine why I might feel compelled to buy anything when he can't do the MiF word problems with bar models in his sleep. I'd redo every word problem in MiF (and the Kumon book) using bar models and this time my intent would be as much about leading him to do themself as it would be about the math. I'd do only 1 or 2 (sometimes, maybe 3) problems a day. If we got through all of MiF and all of Kumon, then I'd harvest more from the internet (and there are thousands of free word problems on the internet)

I've thought about taking him back to really basic problems and using the c-rods to demonstrate the bar models.  Maybe he needs more concrete before moving to the pictorial.  Any ideas from those with great familiarity with the bar models or btdt moms?

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I'm confused, why can't you just teach him to create the bar models that he knows how to use?

He's familiar with the concept and knows how to interpret them and can even use a bar model to solve a problem--great! He is ready to begin doing them himself. Read a problem and talk about the situation given--are the groups changing, if so how? Is the grouping getting bigger or smaller? Which operation does he think you should use in this situation?

So walk him through the process of learning to ID and build the bar models--first require that he reason out each and every step with you then once he can read and understand the problem well enough to tell you "1st draw X"  "now draw Y" and "now you should draw "Z" then he is ready to begin learning to draw the bar models.

Incremental scaffolding of a learning process is one of my favorite techniques--its tied with Direct Instruction and I LOVE Direct Instruction.

So first he's got to be able to reliably determine what a problem is asking and then he has to tell you what to write/draw and why and you draw the whole bar model.

Once that is in place, have him to do the draw "Y"--once he tells you what the 2nd step is, stop and hand him the marker and tell him to do it, then get the marker back and follow his directions to complete the problem.

(So you did a bar, then him, then you)

Once he is confidently directing you through the process and capable of doing the middle step, have him do and draw the middle and final step himself.

(So you do a bar, the him, then him again)

Once he can reliably "finish off" a problem, have him "start" the problems while you are right there with him the whole time.

(So he does a bar, then another, then the last one)

Don't expect this to happen over night--work at it each day. Literally do 1 or 2 problems a day and push him a little more each week or every other week. Kids will rise to the challenge if you give them the chance and push them. The fact that he can understand bar models that are already completed tells me that he's ready to learn to complete and then independently complete bar models.

Admittedly I tend to sometimes "over baby" the kids but it works out in that they not only achieve but learn and retain very well.

This is kinda exactly what I needed to hear.  Sometimes I overthink things. :) I actually thought after I submitted that it's not really resources I'm looking for, but how to structure this for him.  The fact that he got them so well when we were completing this portion of the curriculum was surprising because his twin struggled and she's generally my more mathy kiddo.  Thanks!

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I agree with Gil just do the problems again. My ds doesn't draw the bar models out,but he can explain using rods. Perhaps have him show u using rods. I think that's what Gil said.

Lol not sure if that helped much. For me, I am happy if he can explain it to me.

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