Word Problems Show Me The Money! by: Kathy Devus Links: Learning Problem: My students are having a difficult time with the concept of money, more specifically with money in a word problem. When a word problem is given they fail to take the proper steps indicated by the problem. When my students took the Ohio Proficiency Test (OPT) last year, only six out of seventeen students passed the math portion. This is a problem. Students must be able to determine what a question is asking and then solve the problem. They cannot just start performing operations on the given numbers randomly and hope for the best. Learning Goal: My goal as an educator is to train my students to read all parts of each question completely so that they may complete extended response and short answer questions correctly on the test. If students better analyze the questions as well as their own answers, the students have a greater opportunity to successfully complete their normative tests (Iowa Basic Skills, Competency Based Examinations, etc.) in preparation for their OPT tests in the future. Needs Analysis: I need my students to be able to use money effectively to answer short answer and extended response questions completely and coherently. This need developed as a result of low math test results on the school’s normative test taken last spring. By analyzing past scores of the tests, it is apparent that a large percentage of our fifth graders have difficulty with the math portion of the normative tests. This identifies a normative need since it stems from the OPT requirements and their results. Students do not pass the math portion of the OPT since most of the questions on the OPT are based on short answer and extended response items, true problem solving questions wherein guessing is difficult. They must be able to analyze a question, determine what it is asking, and answer it fully and correctly. Learner Analysis: My target audience is third, fourth, and fifth graders in intermediate schools in Akron, Ohio. I am at Essex School. I will analyze the students’ responses to questions involving money to determine where they are having difficulty, and what can be done instructionally to help them answer more effectively. The plan of action is to focus more on authentic learning so that they become more successful with the OPT and other proficiency tests. Task Analysis: The students are going to be responsible for becoming math problem solvers. In order to do this, teachers will have to become the facilitators of their learning. In order to successfully solve math word problems involving money, the teacher must develop a systematic method for students to follow.. The purpose of this task analysis is to outline the process needed to solve and answer math story problems and problem-solving questions dealing with money. In order to solve this type of math question, a student must be able to read the question, know how to write a numeral using dollar signs and decimals, and understand what method to choose to actually solve the problem. Our students are going to be responsible for becoming more proficient problem solvers. In order to do this, teachers will have to become the facilitators of their learning. In order to successfully solve math word problems involving money, the teacher must develop a systematic method for students to follow. Below is a plan for solving word problems. In the fourth and fifth grades, students must be able to solve story problems and problem solving questions dealing with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The goal of this task analysis is to give a general idea of how to think through a problem solving and story problem question and how to decide upon which strategy to use. Strategy/Procedure: I. Preview the Problem A. Read the question. B. Reread the question. (Always read through the question twice.) II. Understand the Problem A. Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down on your paper. 1. What is the problem about? a. Retell the problem in your own words. 2. What is the question asking? a. Say the question as a fill-in-the-blank sentence. 3. What information is given? a. List the information given in the problem. III. Plan How to Solve the Problem. A. Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down on your paper. 1. What strategies might I be able to use? a. List some strategies to use. b. Look for key terms to decide which method of problem solving to use. Key terms include: 1. When addition is necessary: In all, all together, sum, total 2. When subtraction is necessary: How many more, how many are left, difference 3. When multiplication (repeated addition) is necessary: How many, how much 4. When division is necessary: How many, each c. Use a strategy to help you visualize the problem. 1. Draw a diagram 2. Act it out 3. Make and use a graph 4. Find a pattern 5. Make and use a table 6. Make an organized list d. What will the answer be about? 1. Predict what your answer will be 2. Make an estimation if that will help. IV. Solve the Problem. A. Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down on your paper. 1. How can I solve the problem? a. Follow your plan and show your solution. 2. How can I write my answer? a. Write your answer in a complete sentence being sure to label the answer/number. V. Check your Answer. A. Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down on your paper. 1. How can I tell if my answer is reasonable? a. Compare your answer to your estimate. b. Check your answer by redoing your work. c. Match your answer to the question. Objectives: After thorough math instruction and given a word problem involving money, fifth grade students will be able to: 1. read through an entire word problem involving money twice for understanding with at least 100% accuracy. 2. recognize the appearance of paper money and coins with 100% accuracy. 3. identify in rank order coins in monetary order from least valuable to most valuable, given a set of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, with 100% accuracy. 4. identify in rank order paper money from \$1 to \$100 in monetary order from least valuable to most valuable, given a set of paper money, with 100% accuracy. 5. make correct change given coins and bills with 90% accuracy. 6. calculate the proper amount of money needed to purchase a good or service with 90% accuracy. 7. identify the various terms that indicate that an addition operation is necessary to successfully solve the problem with at least 90% accuracy. 8. identify the various terms that indicate that a subtraction operation is necessary to successfully solve the problem with at least 90% accuracy. 9. identify the various terms that indicate that a multiplication operation is necessary to successfully solve the problem with at least 90% accuracy. 10. identify the various terms that indicate that a division operation is necessary to successfully solve the problem with at least 90% accuracy. 11. define the terms necessary to know in order to successfully solve a word problem involving money with at least 90% accuracy. 12. name the steps to use in order to solve a word problem involving money with at least 90% accuracy. 13. arrange correctly the steps to use when solving a word problem involving money with at least 90% accuracy. 14. select the operation necessary to use in order to solve a word problem with 100% accuracy. 15. solve a set of 10 word problems involving money with at least 90% accuracy.

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This Worksheet was created by Kathy Devus.