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Dr. Word Problem is a unit designed to examine the structure of word problems involving the four operations of arithmetic. This unit focuses on teaching a strategy that is a visual approach to solving word problems. The students will be exposed to Singapore bar models as a technique to aid in understanding and solving problems. Students are taught how to represent word problems by drawing a Singapore bar model. The unit explores the bar models beginning with basic addition facts. The unit progresses to subtraction, multiplication, division, and multi-step problems. A key aspect of this unit is connecting the four operations. By developing children's understanding of the relationships that the four operations share, children will also build a stronger foundation that will invaluable, especially as the multi-step problem domain is investigated. The unit also addresses common pitfalls and limited strategies to problem solving. Dr. Word Problem aspires to overcome these pitfalls by developing arithmetical understanding. This unit can also be adapted to work with word problems dealing with fractions and decimals. The models can also be used to solve algebra problems without using algebra.
(Recommended for Mathematics, grades 3-5.)
- Kathryn Patrice Freeman (Homeschool, Austin, TX)
Subject taught: All of them...
Dr. Word Problem - Solving Word Problems with the Four Operations Using Singapore Bar Models by Valerie Schwarz
This unit gave me exactly the information I needed to confidently discuss word problems with our home-schooled daughter. We've done extensive work with bar modeling while using Singapore's curriculum over the last 5 years, but I still never felt completely versed in the method. We take an 'everyone around the table' approach to math, more so than any other subject, so that my daughter can benefit from seeing the very different ways I work problems as compared to her father, and although we can all three wiggle out the answers to word problems, none of us are really confident enough in our method to adequately explain it. This was incredibly helpful to me, and to my daughter.
Number 16 of the periodical On Common Ground
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