Knowing key words in problem solving is critical for all students. Word problems require students to read and comprehend the question, identify what is being asked and then solve an equation. Making it more difficult for students is that there are multiple terms that mean the same things when solving math word problems.
For early readers, ENL students or struggling readers the task can be daunting. For those kids their inability to comprehend the question may make them unable to solve the problem. They may have math understanding but they are not able to decipher what they are being asked. Teaching them key math terminology will help them tackle math problems.
|add||added to||all together||and||combined|
|both||how many||in all||increase||increased|
|increased by||more than||join||perimeter||plus|
|decreased (by)||difference||exceed||fewer||fewer than|
|how many more||how many left||left||left over||less|
|minus||more than||reduce||remaining |
|equal groups||groups of||in all||lots of||multiple|
|multiply||multiplied by||per||product||product of|
|average||cut up||distribute||divide, divided, |
|every||half||how many each||into||out of|
|per, percent, |
percent (divided by 100)
|quotient, quotient of||quarter||ratio, |
Word problems can be tricky. Remember to look for the key words that tell you it’s the same operation.
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