Teaching Tips

Math word problems to make your child understand the world

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“If you find an offer of 10% OFF + 10% OFF at one store and flat 20% OFF on the same product at another store, which one should you choose to save more money?”

Questions like these are not just mathematical word problems but a part of what we face in our day-to-day lives. These questions come either as problems to be solved or decisions to be made.

Word problems are situation-based questions that allow children to realise the application of math. Unlike abstract questions, word problems offer a better perspective to the child that helps him/her become more efficient at applying math.

Let’s see how such questions prepare your child for the real world.

Word problems help children become better at problem solving and decision making.

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What is problem solving?
Nobody is ever going to ask what 8 times 60 is. However, what if the capacity of an elevator is 480 kg? How many people can go at one time?
Splitting a bill into equal amounts, finding the right accommodation for 10 people, preparing a symmetric painting for a wall, looking for a carton to fit in 10 bottles of jam- everything works out for the best when we find the most appropriate solution to every situation.
Your child should be prepared from the very beginning for him/her to be able to find out solutions and avoid complications.

What is decision making?

We may never come across a situation where we have to decide whether 8% of 10 is greater or 10% of 8 is. However, we will have to decide whether to buy a house right away or rent one for the time being. To make such a decision, we might have to consider the best plan for a loan, the interest rate, assess our current savings, evaluate our future investments, etc.
Decision making, is picking the most suitable option among the choices since the outcome of any situation depends largely on the decisions we make. Also, we can be successful and content if we become good decision-makers.

 

Word problems essentially explain such scenarios. Students would have to understand the problem and break it down systematically. They will then arrive at a conclusion or a decision, which essentially is an answer to the word problem.

Apart from building problem solving ability and decision making skills, word problems help children in developing:

  1. Cognitive skills to analyze a given data and pick out the relevant information, as well as
  2. Comprehension skills to have a strong command over language

Most textbooks do not provide realistic context to their word-problems. Consequently, students instead of seeing how word-problems are really “application problems” come to see them as tedious, wordy paragraphs that are put there simply to bore them. In turn, they learn to “mug up” solutions rather than approach the problem as one would in real-life.

Cognizant of these deficiencies, we at Cuemath do our best to provide context to our problems, thereby making them more relatable with real-life scenarios. This helps in making the questions both challenging and attractive such that the child learns as well as enjoys while working on them.

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Meryl Vincent

Campaign Associate at Cuemath
Meryl is the resident blogger at Cuemath. She works with Cuemath teachers and students to bring out their math related stories. Apart from this, she also collaborates with the Curriculum team at Cuemath to bring out the fascinating side of math through articles and contests. You can contact her on meryl@cuemath.com for any blog related enquiry.