# Word Problems Needed

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I'm looking for sources of math word problems, grades 3-4. My child is having trouble figuring out how to attack/solve them so it'd also be nice to have sources that spell out the steps initially (& then gradually leave off the scaffolding). It'd also be super great if they were free, like online PDFs. Any other tips on teaching this skill is appreciated.

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Also, any (online) videos you can recommend that break word problems down? She's pretty visual so I believe videos could help. Manipulatives are also still effective & appropriate.

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This is about the age I started making math flash cards for my kids.  We'd run through what words like "of", "difference", etc. meant and bring out two highlighters to read the word problem with: The first to find any math words in the problem.  Those were our clues.  The second color highlighter to find any number words.  And then we'd walk through the problems together.  This was enough scaffolding for them to make their way on their own later.

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Not free, but we use Singapore's Challenging Word Problems. The solutions are in the back, and are broken down into steps. I use it as a non-consumable, and do the work with dd on a small white board.

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1 hour ago, knitgrl said:

Not free, but we use Singapore's Challenging Word Problems. The solutions are in the back, and are broken down into steps. I use it as a non-consumable, and do the work with dd on a small white board.

We also use Singapore CWP. I have also seen Process Skills recommended as a resource that has more explicit step by step instructions

http://www.singaporemath.com/Fan_Math_Process_Skills_in_Prob_Solving_L3_p/fmpsps3.htm

I have also found a helpful exercise that helps in any type of problem. Sometimes the presence of more complex numbers creates confusion about the wording. You can have your student replace the numbers given with much simpler numbers. For example, in the problem

Abby gave 5/12 of her books to Bob. She gave 1/6 less books to Charlie. What fraction of her books did she give away?

You can try an example with simpler numbers. Replace 5/12 and 1/6 with simpler fractions like 1/2 and 1/4. Abby gives 1/2 her books to Bob and 1/4 less to Charlie. So she gave away 1/2 + (1/2-1/4) = 3/4 of her books. You can then apply the same reasoning to the original numbers.

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Here's another source to add to your list to create extra word problem practice.

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Thanks, folks! This is proving quite helpful.

A quick question: Does MEP Year 4 = Grade 4 material?

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On 5 octobre 2018 at 9:07 AM, HeighHo said:

are you looking for the one problem per sheet, understand/plan/solve/check type of resource in order to teach the problem solving steps?  ie template embedded?

Template:

a bit more broken down: : select unit, then lesson & problem solving

teaching strategies:

Those Eduplace teaching strategies links look great, esp. the second one! Thanks!

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2 hours ago, Earthmerlin said:

Thanks, folks! This is proving quite helpful.

A quick question: Does MEP Year 4 = Grade 4 material?

In the UK, year 4 is roughly equivalent to 3rd grade in the US.

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How did you deal with clue words that are misleading? I suppose the first step is to get used to looking for such words but then maintaining flexibility and valuing common sense/thinking skills.

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On 5 octobre 2018 at 10:40 AM, underthebridge said:

We also use Singapore CWP. I have also seen Process Skills recommended as a resource that has more explicit step by step instructions

I have also found a helpful exercise that helps in any type of problem. Sometimes the presence of more complex numbers creates confusion about the wording. You can have your student replace the numbers given with much simpler numbers. For example, in the problem

Abby gave 5/12 of her books to Bob. She gave 1/6 less books to Charlie. What fraction of her books did she give away?

You can try an example with simpler numbers. Replace 5/12 and 1/6 with simpler fractions like 1/2 and 1/4. Abby gives 1/2 her books to Bob and 1/4 less to Charlie. So she gave away 1/2 + (1/2-1/4) = 3/4 of her books. You can then apply the same reasoning to the original numbers.

We have both the books you mentioned and I flipped through the is past weekend. They look like a good starting point!

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2 minutes ago, Earthmerlin said:

How did you deal with clue words that are misleading? I suppose the first step is to get used to looking for such words but then maintaining flexibility and valuing common sense/thinking skills.

This was meant for HomeAgain.

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4 hours ago, Earthmerlin said:

How did you deal with clue words that are misleading? I suppose the first step is to get used to looking for such words but then maintaining flexibility and valuing common sense/thinking skills.

Using the clue words is the first step.  "Of" can be misleading, but usually by the time they get to that point it's a matter of picturing the problem in their head and seeing if it makes sense.  So, yeah, I guess just flexibility and thinking skills. ?  This is where I'll often have the kid draw out the problem - like a Singapore bar model or groups of circles or whatnot.

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@Farrarintroduced me to problems without figures on this forum.  It's a very old text of numberless math problems aimed at grades 4-8.  She has published a modernized version (that avoids outdated units, and questions about farmers buying opium....*).  I found it really useful.

*Nevermind.  The farmer buying opium was from Ray's - similar vintage text.

Edited by wathe
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1 hour ago, wathe said:

@Farrarintroduced me to problems without figures on this forum.  It's a very old text of numberless math problems aimed at grades 4-8.  She has published a modernized version (that avoids outdated units, and questions about farmers buying opium....*).  I found it really useful.

*Nevermind.  The farmer buying opium was from Ray's - similar vintage text.

Oh my gosh. I wish there'd been an opium farmers question in it. Most of them are just standard, but there are some really, really great ones. Like one that's all about corrupt politicians. And my all time favorite is one where if you weigh your dog while he's standing on three legs, then how do you calculate his weight. Lol. I love questions like that meant to trip kids up.

Anyway, if anyone is interested, I actually did a total updating of this book - some problems are the same, some have modern measurement units or situations but are the same, and some are just totally different. You can find it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Numberless-Math-Problems-Gillians-Classic/dp/1724460455/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1539617673&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=farrar+williams

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42 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Anyway﻿, if anyone is interested, I actually did a total updating of this book - some problems are the same, some have mod﻿ern measurement units or situation﻿s but are the same, a﻿n﻿d some are just totally different.﻿﻿﻿

Highly recommended and perfect for upper elementary.

Also, it is super nice because it takes away the calculating aspect and really is asking, "how would you approach this problem?" Same as trying to separate the "coming up with an idea" from the "writing idea Iina grammatical fashion" approach in writing.

Edited by SusanC
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Word Problem Worksheets:

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On 15 octobre 2018 at 11:37 AM, Farrar said:

Oh my gosh. I wish there'd been an opium farmers question in it. Most of them are just standard, but there are some really, really great ones. Like one that's all about corrupt politicians. And my all time favorite is one where if you weigh your dog while he's standing on three legs, then how do you calculate his weight. Lol. I love questions like that meant to trip kids up.

Anyway, if anyone is interested, I actually did a total updating of this book - some problems are the same, some have modern measurement units or situations but are the same, and some are just totally different. You can find it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Numberless-Math-Problems-Gillians-Classic/dp/1724460455/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1539617673&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=farrar+williams

Ahh, yes. This worldess word problems idea is a beginning great step in this process! Thanks for the recommendation!

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In talking to a friend, she suggested introducing my 9 yr old to 'dimensional analysis' in order to help her w/ word problems (among other things). Anyone have experience w/ this at this age? I'm just starting to research this concept & would love a quick & dirty run down of it as it relates to and is applicable to 4th graders.

Edited by Earthmerlin
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The (free) Numberless Word Problem resources at this site are a great way to help kids start thinking math problems through: https://bstockus.wordpress.com/numberless-word-problems/

After you read a few of their links, you'll be able to use the same approach on any problems in your child's math book, or whatever additional resources you try.

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