Why do learners struggle with setting up and solving mathematical word problems

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Unit 1

Why do learners struggle with setting up and solving linear word problems?


With the incorporation of Common Core in the mathematics curriculum, learners are expected to be able to think deeply and apply knowledge. Many learners struggle with word problems because they do not know how to translate english words to math words. Learners must know how to translate an English word to a math word. In math, words have their own meanings which do not mean the same as they do in the English language. Also According to Richardson, Sherman, and Yard (2009) the most common issue students have is not being able to identify what the problem is asking them to find. Learners must learn strategies that will help them in determining what the question is asking the learner to find.


Come up with a list of words that students need for translating verbal problems to equations. Have learners make a list that they can keep in their notebooks and add to each time they encounter a new math word that needs translated.


additions words: add, sum

subtraction words: difference, take away

multiplication words: times, product of

division words: quotient, divided by

equals words: are, was

switcher words: than

Unit 2


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