The Franklin Press

Math Moments - February 2016

Helping Your Child To Solve Word Problems

Word problems take learned concepts and skills and apply them to real life. The importance of word problems is to teach children how to develop logical and abstract thinking skills. Yet, understanding how to solve word problems can be a struggle for young children.


Here are some ways to help your child:

  • Read the problem several times to understand what is being asked - Have your child read and reread the problem a few times and ask questions like "What do you know?" and "What are you trying to find out?"
  • Make a plan - Determine the relevant information and have your child work in an organized manner to solve the problem. Consider drawing pictures, making a table, or other strategies for visualizing the problem.
  • Check your work - After a solution is reached, ask your child if the answer is a reasonable solution to the problem. Does the answer make sense?

Be careful of the keyword strategy - Many people believe teaching children to look for keywords in word problems will help, but the reality is that using keywords shortcuts the thinking process and can lead to significant mistakes in simple problems. Consider the word problem below:


I had 5 apples in my basket on Monday. On Tuesday I increased the amount of apples so now I have 7 altogether. How many apples did I add on Tuesday?


A child looking for keywords might add 5 and 7 to get 12 apples. The child should notice that the apples have increased but thinking more deeply about the question, the child should see that 7 apples is the end result of the increase. To get this answer it would be more effective to subtract.


Math word problems can be tricky but by practicing the process on a regular basis and truly thinking through the problem, your child can achieve success in strengthening his/her problem-solving skills!

Take Away the High Die

Math Apps of the Month - Place Value

Multi-digit addition and subtraction can be easily understood with the three different apps featured below. All three are for both iOS and Android devices and help make thinking visible when building, adding, and subtracting multi-digit numbers.

Place Value MAB for iPad
Place Value MAB Addition for iPad
Place Value MAB Subtraction for iPad
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