As a class, we discuss different situations and determine which operation would be used to solve the word problems that involve that situation.

Together, we create an anchor chart of different situations under the operation that would be used to solve the situation.

To read more about how I teach multi-part word problems, click here.

You can download the word problems and the printable chart by clicking here on the image below. Do you think this is something your students would benefit from being introduced to?

Keeping this in mind, I teach word problems in terms of what the situation of the word problem is versus what key word is in the word problem.

Before I taught this strategy, many of my students read word problems in order to find the key words.

When a student looks at a word problem from a situation standpoint, they are reading for meaning and really understanding what operation is required to solve the problem.

To get students to stop relying on key words and think of situations instead, I do an introductory lesson involving four word problems (shown above).

Moving away from key words and having students think about operations in terms of situations instead has made a huge difference in the way my students think about and solve word problems.

When they are solving a tricky word problem, I always remind them to revisit the situation chart and see which situation matches the word problem.

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