Goals - Part 3

My goals in helping children with arithmetic are simple. I want them

  • to be good at solving all different types of word problems,
  • to like solving word problems,
  • to understand the problem solving methods (shortcuts) that they use and
  • to be able to communicate their reasoning to others.

3. What Are The Different Ways to Solve Word Problems?*

Putting aside, for now, a lot of details, there are only two ways in which a word problem can be solved.

MODELS You can represent the problem with physical materials that you manipulate and count one-by-one. Here Trixie uses blocks to represent chickens.

SHORTCUTS Shortcuts are logical, reasoned arguments that solve word problems without physical models and/or without one-by-one counting.

These arguments can be very simple or rather complex.

*And, eventually, the equations that represent them.