Solving Math Word Problems

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In math word problems, it's important to figure out what the facts are and what is being asked for. Solve math word problems with tips from a math teacher in this free video on solving math problems.

Part of the Video Series: Solving Math Problems
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This is Nancy ET Johnson, mathematics teacher, and this is how to solve word problems. Word problems can be very challenging to many students, and some of the basic things to think about when you're trying to solve a word problem is to figure out what are the facts and what is being asked for. Here is an example. A college students plans to spend four hundred twenty dollars on books for one semester. He also plans to spend twenty dollars per week on pizza. The fall semester is eighteen weeks long. How much will he need for books and pizza? Basically we have some facts here, the student is going to be spending some money. He spends four hundred twenty dollars on books, and he's spending twenty dollars per week on pizza. The actual items that he's spending the money on really don't affect the numbers that come out of this problem, but they're all in their as part of the context. We need to add the four hundred twenty dollars and the twenty dollars per week, but this amount is going to - or this information is going to require us to look for this other fact, that the fall semester is eighteen weeks long. So we're going to take the twenty dollars he's spending each week and multiply times eighteen the number of weeks. So he's spending three hundred sixty dollars on pizza for the semester, and four hundred twenty dollars on books for the semester. If we want to know how much he's going to spend for both the books and the pizza, then we need to add these things together. And of course, to complete a word problem, the best thing is to answer the question just turning the words around and putting in the numbers. How much will he need for books and pizza? He will need seven hundred eighty dollars for books and pizza. This is how to solve a word problem, and I am Nancy ET Johnson, mathematics teacher.

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