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  • Lettuce costs $1.00 per head. Each head weighs ½ pound. Mr. Sands needs 5 pounds of lettuce for his dinner party. Marco works in the produce department. Mr. Sands asks Marco how many heads he should buy. What is Marco’s answer?
  • Sands needs to make a salad that will feed 4 people. Lettuce costs $2.00 per pound. Tomatoes cost $1.00 a piece. He wants each person’s salad to contain ¼ pound of lettuce and ½ of a tomato. How much will the entire salad cost Mr. Sands?
  • Lettuce sells for $2.00 per pound. There is a special on lettuce—buy 4 pounds for $6.00. Mr. Sands needs 3 pounds of lettuce. He asks Marco which is the better deal. What should Marco advise?

Increase student motivation by making math word problems relevant to their lives. As these examples show, teachers can write 1-2- or 3-step word problems to reflect an actual problem or situation in which the student workers might find themselves.

Ask students to share the types of problems they solve at work which require math problem solving. Use the students’ names when writing up the math word problems. As an extension, have them act out how they might solve the problem on the job to enhance and/or reinforce their on-the-job problem-solving and communication skills.

The Solve It! series provides a evidenced-based approach to solving math word problems. Chapters include writing your own word problems and provides extension activities that can be personalized for students.