Maths - word problems

How to help your child with maths word problems

Children will encounter word problems in their maths tests so it is good to ensure they have a thorough understanding of these.

It helps to work together by:
 
  • Discussing and identifying the maths operation needed i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.
  • Discussing and explaining any new mathematical words e.g. cost, pairs, double, altogether etc.
  • Discussing whether it is a multi-step or single-step problem.
  • Talking about whether it requires a mental or written calculation.
  • You may need to think of a simpler problem and use blocks, coins, a number line to visually explain the problem

For example, if a word problem says there are six biscuits in a box and two packets, your child can draw a picture and then count.

  • Start with word problems which only need addition e.g. Sam has 3 toy cars, 5 balloons and a bicycle. How many toys does he have altogether?
  • Continue with problems which use addition and subtraction e.g. David had 50p and bought a card at 5p and a book at 25p. How much change did he receive from £1?
  • Proceed from there to problems that require a written calculation.

This is an extract from the first worksheet - How to help your child with maths word problems.
This page also includes time word problems and measurement word problems.

For guidance on teaching methods and how maths is taught in schools, please see the menu on the right. Links to most of the papers below will be active only if you are logged in as a subscriber to Parents in Touch (i.e. n

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