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We often underestimate how much more difficult it is for a learner (particularly one who gets a little anxious when doing maths) to see what calculation is needed when the numbers are ‘hidden’ between words.
These learners may be fine when asked to add 6 and 9 but go to pieces when asked to work out:
‘If Joe has 6 mice and his brother has 9, how many mice do they have all together?’
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that they find this more challenging, because word problems represent a considerably greater understanding about mathematical processes.
For starters, there is no obvious sign like + or – telling you what to do. Then there are lots of words that need reading and if you’re not a confident or fluent reader, that’s a real barrier, especially when it involves special mathematical language.
But don’t despair – help is at hand with the amazing Problem Mapper!
Here’s what to do:
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