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MATH WORD PROBLEMS: GETTING STARTED

This guide uses the U.P.S. strategy for individuals to break apart math word problems. This can be used at any time and on any type of math word problem.

INTRODUCTION

How to Start a Word Problem

The hardest part about word problems is knowing where to begin.

The best way to begin is to understand...what does this mean?

You can create a checklist, draw a picture, or look for a logical pattern.

Do you sometimes feel like this?

 

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If so, you are not alone. The greatest first mistake you can make is jumping into the problem without understanding what it is asking. It's like attempting to skydive without a parachute--very risky!

Here we will share some useful strategies you can use to solve word problems with minimal effort!

STEP 2: DRAWING A PICTURE

If you are a visually inclined person, drawing a picture will help translate the words you are reading into pictures. Once you set up a checklist and still don’t know how to proceed, drawing a picture is a great next step. See how this works below:

STEP 1: CREATING A CHECKLIST

This method is effective to use for all problems—but it works particularly well with large ones. 

Collect all the essential information and create individual checkboxes. As you use the information in your problem, you can check off each piece of given information. See example below:

STEP 3: LOOKING FOR A LOGICAL PATTERN

You may have employed all the previous steps and are still struggling to solve the problem. If so, look at your information, and see if you can find any patterns. Use those patterns to find an equation you can use to solve the problem

See our solution below: