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Using and Applying Maths - Word Problems

It is hard to believe we are into the second week of June already! Over the last number of weeks we have thought about many different mathematical concepts, this week we are going to bring them all together and use them to solve word problems. Before we begin, it’s important to understand the term ‘word problem’ and why we use them in maths.

Word Problems

A word problem in maths is a maths question written as one sentence or more that requires children to apply their maths knowledge to a ‘real-life’ scenario. It takes tricky mathematical operations like fractions and division and attaches them to familiar, real-life scenarios (shopping, friends, money and family, for example). This helps you take the fear out of maths lessons - a common barrier to learning.

They also improve problem-solving skills, memorisation, critical thinking and mathematical confidence. 

Solving Word Problems

To solve word problems children must first be familiar with the vocabulary associated with the mathematical symbols in order to make sense of the word problem. 


When solving word problems we encourage children to follow the steps of RUCSAC. This allows children to carefully read the problem, highlight and understand key words and numbers and then choose how they are going to solve the problem.



In the teaching notes for W.B 18th May, we looked at using bar models to help support answering word problems. If your child would benefit from visualising a word problem by drawing it out, revisit the W.B18/05 and check out the teaching notes again. 

Monday - Single Step Word Problems

Single step word problems are solved by completing only one calculation (one step). Using the steps of RUCSAC decide what operation ( x, /, +, -) you need to do to answer the question. Try the example below.



To answer the question you need to multiply the number of rows by the number of chairs, therefore 12 x 8. So the answer is 96 chairs. 

Tuesday - Multistep Word Problems 
A multi step word problem is like a puzzle with lots of pieces, in order to get the answer you need to complete two or more that have more operations (+, -, /, x). Check out the video below for an explanation.


Try the example below.



Step 1 - Calculate how many reams of paper there are in the boxes so 12 boxes with 5 reams in each means 12 x 5 which equals 60.
Step 2 - Calculate how many sheets of paper were ordered, if there are 500 sheets in a ream and you have 60 reams multiply 500 by 60. The answer is 30,000.


The answer to the question is therefore 30,000 sheets of paper.

Wednesday and Thursday - Word Problems 
The next two days will be dedicated to solving a variety of word problems, this includes time and money. Click the link below to play the interactive word problems game involving time!


Remember to write the correct decimal notation in the money word problems and pay attention to whether the time problems are asking for an analogue or digital answer. Use the pencil below for hints on solving the word problems. 

Friday - Consolidation of Learning & Friday Test

Consolidation Task

For our consolidation task this week, children are be given asked to plan a holiday. They will be given an information page with prices on it and then a task which asks them to plan and budget for the holiday. They will have to apply their mathematical knowledge to complete a series of calculations to work out the best deal for a family. The pictures below show an example of what the task looks like. 

Information Page 


Task Page 


Friday Test

This week's times table focus was x9. Ask your child their x9 tables in a random order ensuring you cover all times tables from 0 x 9 to 12 x 9.