Many students have difficulty trying to solve math word problems. Here is an example where a teacher models how to solve math word problems.

### Definition of Modeling

Performing a task correctly as others watch and listen carefully.

### Example of Modeling to Solve Math Word Problems

In Solve It! the teacher and then students model how successful problem solvers think and behave as they solve math word problems.

### Vignette

Mr. Neruda models how successful problem solvers think and behave as they solve math word problems. Here he models the first two cognitive processes in the Solve It! routine.

**Mr. Neruda**: “Hear me say everything I am thinking and doing as I solve this problem.” A data entry clerk earns $8.00 per hour plus $0.50 for each full page of data entered into the computer. How much money, in dollars, will the clerk earn after working 30 hours and entering 140 full pages of data?

“First, I am going to read the problem for understanding.” **SAY**: Read the problem. Okay, I will do that. (Mr. Neruda reads the problem.) If I don’t understand it, I will read it again. Hmm, I think I need to read it again. (He reads the problem again.) **ASK**: Are there any words or terms I don’t understand? Let me look again. The only word I am not sure about is “per.” $8 per hour. Oh, I get it. That means $8.00 for each hour. So, “per” means “each.” Have I read and understood the problem? I think so. **CHECK**: For understanding as I solve the problem. Okay, I will make sure I understand what I am doing as I go.

“Next, I am going to paraphrase by putting the problem into my own words.

**SAY**:

Put the problem into my own words. Okay. This guy is working and he is paid $8.00 per hour. He works 30 hours. Also he is paid $.50 for each page. He finishes 140 pages. How much did he make? Now underline the important information. I am going to underline $8.00 per hour plus $0.50 for each full page, how much money, in dollars, 30 hours, and 140 full pages.

**ASK**:

Have I underlined the important information? Yes, I have. What is the question? The question is ‘how much, in dollars, did the clerk earn?’ What am I looking for? I am looking for the total amount of money he made for working 30 hours and finishing 140 pages.

**CHECK**:

Let’s make sure that the information goes with the question. I have the number of hours he worked, the amount he made per hour, the number of pages he finished, and the amount he made for each page. I need to find the total amount he made. We have the information we need to solve the problem.”

### You Can Model How to Solve Math Word Problems

In conclusion, there are methods to solve math word problems, and you can teach those methods. Learn more about this and other strategies in *Implementing Solve It! A Professional Development Guide for Facilitators* (Implementing Solve-It!)