Attacking word problems in 3rd and 4th grades

Problems in
3 and 4
Tracy Smith and Tessa Grotegut
Gruver ISD
What is this?
This is a strategy developed by another
teacher to help the learner decide
which operation to use.
(x or ÷).
What do these letters mean?
• The “G” stands for
GROUPS, the “E” stands
for EACH, and the “T”
stands for TOTAL.
• First we have to
compile a huge list of
words that mean the
same thing as
anything you can draw
and put something IN,
would probably work
as a group. This is
very important for your
learner to start
recognizing GROUP
words. Let’s list as
many words that mean
groups as we can….
• Next, we need to do the same thing with
EACH, only this is a lot easier really
there are only THREE….yes, three.
EACH, PER and A You have to teach
the student that not ALWAYS do these
words mean each but a lot of the time
they do so to pay close attention to
them….I make my students write the
word EACH on top of per or a and see if
it makes sense and if so, it is an EACH
• Last, the word
TOTAL. Lots of
addition words
mean total so
when a total word
is PAIRED with
an Each or
Groups word, it
means to multiply
or divide. Let’s
list some total
• NOW that we know all the synonyms for
groups, each and total, we have the hard part
down. ANYTIME you see the word EACH
(per or a) in a word problem, you KNOW,
and I stressssss to my kiddos, DO NOT ADD
OR SUBTRACT. You are either going to
MULTIPLY OR DIVIDE. I’m sure you are
with me on this, for some reason they think
they should add or subtract all numbers when
looking at a large word problem…..NO!
OK…lets do a little practice
• James Electronics has 437
DVDs in 5 cases. Each case
has an equal number of
DVDs. How many DVDs
are in each case?
• OMG…what word do you
emphasize this to your learners
every time and they will stop
the madness of adding and
subtracting every time.
FIRST….look at your
question and what the
problem is asking for?
G x E = T
• Now look for groups and
total words and label
them accordingly. How
do we find the missing
number in a
Henry flosses his teeth 2
times each day. How many
times will he floss his teeth in
a month that has 31 days?
G x E = T
• EACH!!!! Remind them either
multiply or divide…
• Look at the question, label and
lastly ask “Does it make
Each binder has 65 pieces of
paper. How many pieces of
paper are in 31 binders in all?
G x E = T
There are 98 students in
Northtown Elementary
School. Each of the students
took 4 exams this week.
How many exams did the
students take in all?
G x E = T
After 7 pop quizzes, Nancy
has scored a total of 614
points. If Nancy had the
same score on each pop quiz,
what was her score?
G x E = T
In all 880 people attended the
6 performances of the one-act
play. Each performance was
attended by an equal number
of people. How many people
attended each performance?
G x E = T
Other Problem Solving
These are the steps that
we teach our students to
follow when working out
a word problem.
Math Word Wall
• Addition words – RED
• Subtraction words – BLUE
• Multiplication words - GREEN
• Division words – PURPLE
• Other words – YELLOW
What Curriculum Do We Use?
Target Math
We do a problem of the
day each day and on
Thursday we do TWO.
Then on Friday we give
the students the same
copy as a test. This helps
them show us their
knowledge of key words,
get and pencil problem
solving strategies!

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