





Two Step Word Problems
Mr. Math notices that a group of students are struggling with two step word problems. Students were given a practice problem after modeling and working with base ten blocks for over a week. The students were able to explain their thinking and solve the problem with base ten blocks. However, when Mr. Math gave the same problem on paper, the students could not solve it. What can Mr. Math do to ensure students are grasping the concept of solving two step problems and being able to show their work? 










Solution 1
Posted October 17, 2014 12:20 am 




Mr. Math should offer base ten blocks when transitioning to the paper pencil problem. Build the student's confidence by choosing the struggling students to present the problem in the front of the class using them physically as the manipulatives while the rest of the class uses base ten blocks to model the same problem at their seats. Another strategy Mr. Math can offer is to slowly move from using manipulatives to along with the paper problems to modeling and practicing drawing what they have built with the manipulatives. For example: Once they have built the problem on their desks out of the base ten blocks, have them draw the model in their math journals. As they gain confidence and success, then they can begin to just draw the model on their paper until they gain full independence of utilizing their own resources to solve the problems without the use of manipulatives at all. Also consistent repetition of working through one step at a time is a key ingredient for success.
For each step the children attempt and complete they can earn stars for incentives. Mr. Math can offer ice pops for treats at the end of the week if they earn a certain amount of stars. Also a poster presentation in the hallway offers positive incentive; for just attempting to show their thinking and work out the problem they can earn stars which is publically displayed. 

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Solution 2
Posted October 16, 2014 11:44 pm 




Mr. Math should explain to the students to read the word problem first. After that they should read it again and actually picture it in their minds. Often times when students can picture things in their minds it assist them with understanding how to complete the word problems. He should do sample visual (acting out) the math problems so that students know how to picture them in their minds. Also, he could have the students write letters over the numbers that represent each place value such as T for tens and O for ones and then make a tchart with T and O to draw the base ten blocks under to help them not get confused. 

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Solution 3
Posted October 19, 2014 3:54 pm 




After using the base ten blocks and mastering the concept, some students require more than just going to the paper and answering a question with equations. Teach the "boxes, sticks, and dots" strategy for these students. They draw their problem with boxes for hundreds, sticks for tens, and dots for ones. They can label the boxes, sticks, and dots with the numbers underneath to bridge their learning to just using numbers. 

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