6 Word Problem Strategies to Help Reduce Math Anxiety
Many students fear and despise the mathematics story problems (word problems) that they encounter in their classes and could use a few word problem strategies to help solve them. Math anxiety is a real life experience and is usually made worse by the thought of having to solve a story problem. The truth is, life itself is made up of a long series of story problems and those that require the use of our math skills to solve are not difficult once a few simple strategies are learned. Below are a few word problem strategies that may help to reduce math anxiety.
This article was written by...
"Receive a FREE Consultation To Decide If Tutoring Is Right For Your Child."
No Hassle. No Obligation.
Short 20 minute call to discuss the best way to improve your child's grades and motivation.
"16 Ways to Motivate Your Child to Do Better in School"
just for filling in the box below.
Story problems usually contain key words or phrases that tell what operation(s) need to be performed with the numbers. Learn to look for these word clues:
ADDITION: add (to), sum, plus, more than, increased by
SUBTRACTION: subtract (from), difference, minus, less than, decreased by, how many more?
MULTIPLICATION: multiply, product, times, twice, three (four, five, etc.) times, percent
DIVISION: divide, quotient, share equally
When attempting to solve word problems, if an appropriate mathematical operation is not obvious – just try something. If the wrong method is selected, one will at least learn what does not work. After all, if something isn’t tried, nothing will be learned.
Here is a basic procedure to follow:
• Read the problem carefully and find out what is being asked for. Don’t try to understand the whole problem the first time through, just determine what the main question is.
• Go back and re-read the problem to see what information has been given that will be helpful in answering the main question.
• Draw an appropriate figure or diagram that might be helpful.
• Find any word clues that will help determine what operations are needed.
• Perform the required operations.
• Finally, mentally check the answer to see if it makes sense and is reasonable. Be especially aware of the given units of measure (ft., in., lb., oz., gal., etc.) and be sure the answer is expressed in the correct units.
Below are six additional and proven word problem strategies that will be helpful in solving story problems:
Word Problem Strategies Tip #1- Draw a Figure or Diagram
This is the basic strategy to use when help is needed to visualize what is wanted in a problem and a sure-fire way to clear out any mental fog that exists. Labeling the figure with all the known information will keep everything straight and avoid getting lost in the words.
Word Problem Strategies Tip #2- Put Data in a Table
Look for patterns, a table is a great method for organizing information and once the information is in the table, it is a lot easier to find a pattern in the data.
Word Problem Strategies Tip # 3- Cut and Try Method
This method involves taking a guess at the answer and checking it against the desired answer and then adjusting the first guess (and any subsequent guesses) to get closer to the desired result.
An example of this method is used in zeroing an artillery piece on its target. An observer gives his best guess of the target coordinates, a round is fired, the location of the hit is observed and the coordinates adjusted accordingly. The process is repeated until a hit is registered on the target.
Word Problem Strategies Tip # 4- Solve a Simpler Problem
Using a simpler version of a problem can be helpful in suggesting a problem solving approach.
A well-known example of this method involves deciding how many fence posts are needed for a fence of given length if the posts are to be spaced at 10 foot intervals. Draw a diagram of a fence with two or three posts, observe the pattern and apply it to the longer fence in the problem.
Word Problem Strategies Tip # 5- Work Backward
Solving problems by working backward is exactly what we do when solving linear equations.
For example: The equation 9x–13=32 means that 13 subtracted from the product of x multiplied by 9 results in 32. So we reverse those operations to find x. Add 13 to each side of the equation and then divide both sides by 9.
Word Problem Strategies Tip # 6- Dimensional Analysis
Dimensional Analysis is one of the most useful methods for solving story problems. The great thing about specifying the units of the measurements (besides clarifying what we are talking about) is that they act just like numbers in arithmetic operations. All we do to solve a problem is put the units in the right order to produce the correct units for the answer.
For example: If a car traveled 395 kilometers in 210 minutes, what was the average mph?
Put the units in order so that cancellations will result in the desired combination:
Km/min x mi/km x min/hr = mi/hr
Next, plug in the given information and carry out the arithmetic operations.
395 km/210 min x 0.621 mi/km x 60 min/hr = 70 mi/hr or 70 mph
In summary, if students afflicted with “math anxiety” can take a deep breath and approach the story problems with calmness and the outlined word problem strategies, life will take on a new beauty and serenity. Just remember to:
• Read the problem carefully
• Look for the operations key words
• Pick a logical strategy from the list above to find the solution
Don’t forget to make your work neat and logical and have some fun – story problems are just puzzles to solve.
Build Student Self Confidence With an Online Private Math Tutor
How to Find the Inverse of a Function
Does Your Child Need Help with Math?
5 Ways to Become a Better Math Student
6 Characteristics to Look For in a Math Tutor
30 Trusty Tips: Learn Math Skills to Improve Grades in School
5 Ways to Boost Confidence in Math
4 Ways to Succeed With Story Problems
7 Steps NOW For Your Child To Get Good Math Grades Next School Year
Five Steps To Lift Your Child's Math Grades to A's
Math Anxiety Tips
Online Help with Geometry
Five Steps On How To Improve Your Child's Math Grades To A's
Eliminate Learning Loss with Fun Summer Math Activities
Tips for Parents: Helping Kids with Math Homework
Teaching Students Trigonometric Radians: Degrees to Radians and Back
Help with Math Equations: Using Letters in Math?
Tips, Tricks and Strategies: Help Solving Word Problems
Three Easy Ways to Help With Elementary Math
6 Word Problem Solving Strategies to Help Reduce Math Anxiety
Five Steps to Improve Mathematics Problem Solving Skills
Calvary Tutoring Services: Learn with an Online Mathematics Tutor
How to Easily and Simply Use Rules in Mathematics
Understanding the Ti 84 Solve Function
Six Strategies to Tackle Challenging Math Word Problems
Solve Compound Interest Problems using the Ti 84 Calculator
Algebra 1 Homework Help for Your Child
Learning about Fractions: Why Johnny (Jenny) Can't Do Fractions
Five Guaranteed Ways to Get an A in Math
Six Tips for Using a Graphing Calculator
Solving Real World Math Problems Using Rate, Time, and Distance
How to Use One Easy Addition Model to Solve a Billion Different Word Problems
One Easy Addition Model for a Billion Word Problems: Classification Problems
Solve Word Problems with One Easy Addition Model: Chunking Problems
One Easy Addition Model for a Billion Word Problems: Comparison Problems
One Easy Addition Model for a Billion Word Problems: Change Problems
Never Too Young: How to Teach Algebra to Kids
Three Steps to Improve Math Grades
Math is Beautiful
Shattering Five Math Fear Myths
Learning Fractions is a Piece of Cake!
Math Tutor Help: Understanding YX OIC 2EZ
The Basics of Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning
How to Achieve Successful Homework Completion by Overcoming Math Fear
Math Fear: Overcoming Test Anxiety
Calculator Use Tips: Four Reasons for Students to Use Calculators
Five Magical Strategies for Increasing Math Confidence
Teaching Number Sense to Your Children is Easy with Number Counting
Counting Change: A Fun and Useful Way to Improve Math Skills!
PEMDAS Problems: Easily Simplify Equations Using PEMDAS
Math from the Positive Side: Live Online Tutoring
Overcoming Anti-Math Bias
Correct Math Operations: Putting the Cart before the Horse
7 Advantages of Choosing Online Math Tutoring for Your Student
Math for Slow Learners
How to Multiply Faster Than a Calculator
Four Steps to Follow When Solving Math Word Problems
Online Tutoring in Mathematics: Get Your Child Excited About Math
The Five Fundamentals for Teaching Math
Simple Strategies That Can Help Your Child Become a Math Superstar
You Can Have the Michael Jordan of Online Math Tutors
The ABC’s of Learning X, Y and Z in Algebra
Effective Math Problem Solving Strategies
4 Fun Ways to Learn Multiplications Facts
Why Math is Important for Every Child to Learn
How to Improve Math Skills for Kids
8 Ways to Be Better at Math
How to Solve Math Word Problems: Tips for Reducing Word Problem Stress
Students Click Here
Free Report How To Start An Online Tutoring Business
Blueprint For Online Tutoring Success eBook
How To Start An Online Tutoring Business MP3 interview
Free Online Tutor Forum
Tutor and Grow Rich ebook
Free A+ Parenting Video Series & Handouts
Online Tutoring Service
Free Online Tutoring Demonstration
A+ Parenting DVD Collection
Discipline & Parenting Techniques
Health, Nutrition and Fitness
Learning Styles and Techniques
Managing an Online Tutoring Business
Motivating Your Child or Student
Online Tutoring Business Opportunities
Online Tutoring Defined
Test Preparation & Study Skills
Work From Home