*My students had been struggling with how to solve addition and subtraction word problems for what seemed like forever.They could underline the question and they could find the numbers.*

*My students had been struggling with how to solve addition and subtraction word problems for what seemed like forever.*They could underline the question and they could find the numbers.

I also change numbers throughout the year, from one-digit to two-digit numbers.

The beauty of the blank spaces is that I can put any numbers I want into the problem, to practice the strategies we have been working on in class.

The examples above are mainly for join and separate problems.

It’s no wonder our students have so much difficulty with compare problems since we don’t teach them to the same degree as join and separate problems.

Our students need even more practice with those types of problems because the relationship of the numbers is more abstract.

I’m going to leave that for another blog post, though.At some point, we do create a list of words, but not a keyword list.We create a list of actions or verbs and determine whether those actions are joining or separating something. Here are a few ideas: Join: put, got, picked up, bought, made Separate: ate, lost, put down, dropped, used in the problem and the result of the problem. These are all words we use when solving problems and we learn the structure of a word problem through the vocabulary and relationship of the numbers.Most of the time, my students just added the two numbers together without making sense of the problem. I am a big proponent of NOT teaching keyword lists.It just doesn’t work consistently across all problems.Models are the visual ways problems are represented.Strategies are the ways a student solves a problem, putting together and taking apart the numbers.They may even use two at the same time while they work out the similarities between the models.Students should also be able to create their own models.The most important thing about models is to move away from them. You spend so long teaching students how to use models and then you don’t want them to use a model.Well, actually, you want students to move toward efficiency.

## Comments Math Problem Solving Lesson Plans

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