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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Problems With Words

If you follow me on Facebook...this isn't about Words with Friends, though I understand why you might think that.  If you follow me on twitter, or the blogging community, this isn't about autism, although I understand why you might think that...

Yesterday a couple people I know were lamenting the pain of word problems in math.  And, because I had been thinking about doing something like this for Emma already (who like most kids ALSO hates word problems) I decided to kill essentially my entire lunch hour coming up with a couple tips I try to tell Emma to use when she solves word problems.  And I turned it into a fancy graphic-ma-bobby!

Word problems are tricky, and the line between relying solely on keywords and phrases to determine operators gets really blurry when multiplication/division and addition sometimes share words, BUT...for the easier math word problems, this is at least a good start.  If you have comments or suggestions I'd be happy to incorporate them.

Oh, and one more thing.  I googled the phrases and then added some of my own, but MOST of the phrases/words I found on:  Gateways2Learning.com.  I didn't like their graphic, though, because I wanted all the phrases on a single page, and of course...I love my face.



20 comments:

  1. Was working on math word problems last night with my daughter. painful! thanks for this!

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    1. every night I'm working on them with my daughter...5th grade is bringin' it!!

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  2. It's a pretty face. Who wouldn't love that face? and the math stuff's pretty cool, too.

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  3. Oddly, word problems were about the only math that made actual sense to me. At least you were doing something with the silly things, and there was a story to read, sort of. Even if the protagonists were incredibly dense, or did really pointless things. I always liked words better than numbers.

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    1. some people DO have an aptitude for them. Some people are REALLY blocked by them.

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  4. The problem that you haven't saved me a cupcake, bastard.

    I'm coming to you when you get out of 1 + 1 land and into this juicier stuff.

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  5. This is a cool idea, but I have a problem with #2. On your graphic, not on... never mind. I have a problem with the second thing.

    "Ignore information that confuses the problem." In my experience, this is the whole reason that kids who have trouble with word problems struggle with this kind of question - identifying which parts of the question are the important bits. To a lot of kids, the entire question is filled with information that confuses the problem. Figuring out how to decide which bits are not relevant is really tough.

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    1. But for simpler word problems where the unit is explicit, this is great. And the list of words for the operators is genius, I wish I'd had that at school. I guess I was just distracted by the blinding awesomeness of your face.

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  6. Jim, this is wonderful. I'm like a lot of people - the word problems were the easy ones for me (because, I think, words) but I knew a lot of people that just couldn't figure them out. I love this.

    Also, your face makes me laugh, being there. In a good way, not a Nelson from "The Simpsons" way.

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  7. UGH! You've just brought on a whole round of word problem PTSD! GAH!!!!

    But seriously, I could have totally used this super-fabulous guide as a kid.

    Now, I need to go have a shot or something because -- word problems.... ugh.

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  8. Aren't you Mister Helpful. I'm bookmarking this for reference when my daughter is "real" school a few years from now.

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  9. Never been very good at math, always better in English. You'd think adding words to math would help, but...not so much. I'm terrible at math word problems. I'm so happy I don't have to do them anymore. I hope your hard work helps Emma out!

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  10. My son's teacher is going to be thrilled when I present her with 16 double sided laminated copies of your face, er, I mean, helpful printouts of "How To Solve Word Problems".

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  11. You just helped me save face in front of my 10yo. I remembered this post and did a quick search for it. Now I've got it saved to Evernote for next time. Judy had 10 somethings and Joseph had 8/9 *OF* what Judy had. How many glasses of wine did mom earn?

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