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Math Word Problems (& Other Literacy-Related Things)Differentiated Session
Make sure you have a resource packet and a pen/pencil.
Do Now
• With a partner, please come up with three difficulties students encounter when working on word problems.• Be ready to share.
Agenda
I. Introduction II. Word Problems: What Makes Them
Difficult III. Gallery Walk: Strategies & Systems IV. Debrief V. Supporting Students with Vocabulary VI. Closing
The Demands of Word Problems
The Demand of Word Problems
• Two challenges: reading and processing
+
• Students can decode and read the problem, BUT can’t interpret what it’s asking them to do• Can teach strategies and systems
Reading or Processing?• Students need to be taught how to read like
mathematicians• Math problems are not the same as stories or articles;
they are read to identify the question being posed• Students who can read fluently may still have trouble
identifying the problem they need to solve
Connections to Previous Lit Sessions:
SLIT2: Teaching VocabularySLIT3: Reading Purposefully & StrategicallySLIT4: Building Comprehension Before, During, & After Reading
The Demands of Word Problems
• To solve a word problem, students must be able to:1. Understand what question is being asked2. Locate relevant information within the problem (and
overlook irrelevant information).3. Translate the words into equations.4. Determine which arithmetic functions are required
to solve the problem
Word Problem Strategies
• Require students to use a standard strategy that they can apply to every word problem they encounter.
• Teach its components explicitly, and use and model the strategy consistently.
Features of Effective Strategies
1) Memory devices that help students remember the strategy2) Steps that use familiar words and begin with an action verb
to facilitate student involvement3) Steps that are sequenced appropriately4) Metacognitive strategies that use prompts for monitoring
performance
Gallery Walk
• Use your note-taking handout.• Identify components of each strategy (what do the
acronyms stand for, what are students expected to do).• Identify a strength and/or weakness of each strategy.• Would you want to use it with your students?
3 minutes at each station
STAR Strategy
• Empirically validated mnemonics that helps students recall sequential steps.• SEARCH the word problem: Read the problem carefully, ask
yourself questions (“what do I know?” “what do I need to find?”), write down facts
• TRANSLATE the word problem: Translate words into an equation in picture form.
• ANSWER the problem.• REVIEW the solution: Re-read the problem, ask yourself, “Does
the answer make sense? Why”, check your computations
RIDGES Strategy• Appropriate for upper elementary through secondary grade
levels• Helps students formulate a plan to solve the problem• Read the problem• I know statement: List information given in the problem. All
information should be listed – relevant or not.• Draw a picture, table, etc. This should help students pick out
relevant information• Goal Statement: Student expresses, in own words, the question
the problem is asking.• Equation Development: Write equation for problem (i.e. length +
width + length + width = perimeter of football field).• Solve the equation: Plug given information into equation. Solve.
SQ-RQ-CQ Strategy• Guides students to find important elements & determine how
they should be solve in a logical order• Builds in self-questioning to help students find & correct their
own mistakes• Survey the math problem: read the problem to get an idea of its
general nature, talk with students to discuss what parts are most important
• Question: Determine what problem is asking you to do.• Re-read problem: Focus on specific details of problem. What parts
of problem relate to each other? Consider what form your answer should be in (units)
• Question yourself about operations involved: Determine specific operations required, and list the order.
• Calculate: Perform each operation in order listed.• Question: Review steps, determine if answer is reasonable.
How Do I Choose?
• There is no magic formula – pick the one YOU are most invested in for YOUR students.• Pick a strategy, laminate and post it – have students
practice it religiously!• No best strategy for ELL/SpEd. Pick a strategy to arm
them with so they can ATTACK those word problems!
Making the Strategy Work
• “I laminated mini posters of our grade level problem-solving model so students could keep them at their desks until they had the steps memorized.”
- A real math teacher• Gradual Release of Responsibility• EVERY time, WITHOUT fail, for EVERY problem!• It will take time for the strategy to take hold—don’t scrap
it!
TIME AND CONSISTENCY
Some Considerations…
• Recognize student characteristics (cognitive and behavioral) and preferences• Promote individualization of strategy use• Program for generalization• Provides opportunities for students to generalize the
strategy to other problems
Supporting Students with Vocabulary
• Teach key vocabulary words (no window-dressing words) in student-friendly ways• Frayer Model• Concept Definition Maps
Concept Definition Maps
Word Walls
Word Wall Suggestion # 1
• Write word cards in ways that exemplify the concept.
PARALLELPARALLEL
VERTICAL
AXIS OFSYMMETRY
Word Wall Suggestion #2
• Organize words by the operation to which they relate.
Key Addition Words (+)
Key Subtraction
Words (-)
Key Multiplication
Words (x)
Key Division Words (/)
AddAltogether
BothIn allSumTotal
DifferenceFewer
How manyMore/Fewer
LeftMinus
Remain
ProductTimes
At this rateHow many…in
each
QuotientDividend
How many…in each
Book Tour
• See your resources packet for sample.• Familiarize your
students with features of textbook.• Empower students to
use resources available to them for additional support.
The Bottom Line
• Choose one strategy and stick with it (even if students show initial resistance).
• Empowering students with consistent strategies and explicitly-taught math vocabulary will help us close the literacy gap (from the math classroom).
Thank [email protected]