Four Square Technique for Solving Math Word Problems

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Math word problems can be solved in a variety of different ways, like with the four square technique. Learn about the four square technique for solving math word problems with help from an experienced mathematics educator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Elementary Math
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Marija. I'm a Mathematician and today, I'm going to show you the four square technique for solving Math word problems. So, four square technique is just a way to organize your thoughts, organize the data that you're given and clarify what your answer is. So, for the four square, we're going to go ahead and split our paper up into four equal pieces. And the categories that you're going to have are your keywords here; so, once you read your problem, you're going to write down all the keywords, all the important information on this box. And then, the second box you're going to have a diagram. So, for some problems, this might be harder than others, but you always want to try to draw some type of diagram whether it'd be an actual physical picture if you're dealing with something as hard as Trigonometry or just be circles and squares if you're dealing with simple problems. And then, down the bottom, you're going to have a number sentence. So, you're going to take the diagram and the keywords and come up with some kind of number sentence. Okay. So, for example, if you've been told that John is four years older than Ben, here's where you're writing, B plus four, making it an actual equation. Okay. And then over here, you're going to write your explanation. So, we always want to make sure that we understand our own answer and that our own answer makes sense and it's logical. So, this is where you're going to take them in and to write an explanation and justify to yourself, your own answer, make sure that it makes sense, make sure that you're clear and make sure you've answered the question that you were asked in the word problem. My name is Marija and I just showed you the four square methods to solving a math word problem.

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