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.
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.
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.
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.
When I teach word problems, I give students problems with blank spaces and no numbers. We identify whether something is being added to or taken from something else. We identify what we have to solve and set up the equation with blank spaces and a square for the unknown number ___ ___ = unknown Do you want a free sample of the word problems I use in my classroom? Only after we have discussed the problem do I give students numbers. At the beginning of the year, we all do the same numbers, so that I can make sure students understand the process.
After students are familiar with the process, I start to give different students different numbers, based on their level of mathematical thinking.