As a teacher, you know that two-step word problems can be tricky for third and fourth graders. But with a little bit of creativity, you can make teaching them fun! Here are tips to get your students engaged and excited about solving two-step word problems.
Begin With A Quick Review of One-Step Word Problems
Before you start teaching your students two-step word problems, review one-step word problems with them. This will provide a foundation for the more complex problems they’ll be solving later on.
To make it fun, try using children’s literature to review one-step word problems for various operations. There are tons of great books out there that can help make math time fun! Using children’s literature can help students recognize which words represent different operations.
Make it Hands-On and Exciting!
When it comes to teaching two-step word problems, one of the best things you can do is incorporate concrete materials into your lesson. This will help your students visualize the problem and see it as something other than a bunch of numbers on a page. Plus, using concrete materials is just plain old fun! Try having your students draw a picture of the problem or build it out with manipulatives.
You could even have them act out the problem with their bodies! The options are endless—get creative!
Interactive digital lessons can be another hands-on way to practice 2-step word problems. In the lesson pictured below, students move astronauts to represent the problem. You can make this fun by displaying it on an interactive smart board in your classroom.
Use Math Templates or Graphic Organizers
If you’re looking for a way to give your students structure when solving two-step word problems, math templates or graphic organizers can be a great option. These tools provide scaffolding that can help your students as they work through the problem-solving process. Plus, they’re flexible enough to be used with any type of problem. A graphic organizer can help students break a problem apart into steps and really think about which operation is required for each step.
Encourage Them to Persevere
Solving two-step word problems can be challenging, so it is important to encourage your students to persevere when they are struggling. Let them know that it is okay to make mistakes and that they will get better with practice!