Below are two pages of maths problems written in words. They are known as ‘single step operations’ as only one mathematical process is necessary to solve them. Children find word problems very difficult, but the one step type are much, much easier than the two step.
Children need to be able to read and understand problems written in prose that include elements of real life, either at home or at school. They need to be able to see what processes are necessary to solve it and then lay out their answer clearly, giving some explanation. If they have had plenty of practice at writing their own number stories in earlier years they will now find these much easier.
Single step operations (pg 1)
Single step operations (pg 2)
Here we have a page of word problems which require more than one step in order to answer them. Children find this kind of two step word problem question much harder than when there is just one step involved in answering a question.
Often these questions can be done in several different ways. For example, the first question;
‘Jacob had 60 toys and his sister, Emma, had 48 toys. They sold 33 of the toys at a car boot sale. How many do they have left?’
The obvious way to do this is to add 60 and 48, making 108 and then subtracting 33 to leave 75.
However, it is just as valid, and maybe easier, to subtract 33 from 48 which is 15 and then add this on to the 60, to make 75. The actual numbers involved here are easier to deal with.
It is well worth keeping an open mind on how these types of questions should be answered and discuss with your children the best ways of approaching them.
This page can be found in the Year 4 resources under the Using and Applying Maths category.
2 step word problems
Children often find word problems very tricky, partly because they are unsure of what calculations to carry out to reach the solution. This page has a small number of word problems, but it asks for the working out to be shown and what calculation needs doing eg addition.
The first two questions require only a single step to reach the answer, but the second two need two steps, which makes them much harder.
Solve word problems_(1)