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Using story problem situations, or word problem types, to teach problem-solving in the elementary grades.

The Problem with Problem-Solving

I was tearing my hair out trying to get my students to solve word problems accurately! They would grab the two numbers they saw and randomly add or subtract them :::sigh:::

Then I found what I affectionately refer to as the “Common Core Math Bible” and it was my “come to Jesus” moment with word problems. Confusing word problems were finally more clear….to me…the adult. Surely this technique I read about would help my students.

Word Problem Types to the Rescue

I found out about The Progressions,  a document that came out of The University of Arizona.  The Common Core standards for math were based on this document.  If you’ve ever looked at a standard and wondered, what are they really going after here?, the answer is probably in The Progressions.

It’s pretty dry reading but I’ve found some good tidbits.

One of my favorites is a breakdown of the different addition and subtraction problem solving situations.  I made this kid-friendly version that could be used as an anchor chart or put in a math notebook.

 

Click to download a copy!
addition and subtraction situations anchor chart for teaching CGI math
I also have a teacher version you can print for free (just click the picture!).  It gives a little more information about each problem type and shows which grade levels are responsible for working on which ones.
word problem types for teaching addition and subtraction using the CGI method

Have two-step word problems become your Common Core nemesis?  This chart might be just the ticket for you.  When student get comfortable with recognizing the problem types they are more successful with picking apart and solving two-step problems.

 

Save time!

If you’re ready to have students solving problems easily using the word problem types, save yourself time and check out my unit.

“I love this resource! I love that the artwork was unique and that everything was ready. Changed how I thought about word problems!! My students really started to get it too!”

-Dani J.

 

Click a picture below to find out more:

word problem types for teaching addition and subtraction problem solving using CGI
word problem types for teaching addition and subtraction problem solving using the CGI method
word problem types for teaching addition and subtraction problem solving using the CGI method

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Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.