In a recent post (here), I mentioned my affinity for word problems. And studying Children’s Mathematics (Carpenter *et al*, 2014) as a graduate student makes me like them even more.

I enjoy solving them, but I also like *writing* them for my daughter *Rosie*. Indeed, I find it quite rewarding to design a word problem involving her favorite animals, toys, etc, and see her have fun strengthening her logical skills.

Maybe you would like to give it a try too ? Need some examples?

Let’s start with addition. When I write an addition problem for *Rosie*, I try to keep in mind these 3 formats (Carpenter *et al., 2014)*:

- Problem 1:
*Rosie*had 3 beads. She found 5 more beads. How many beads does*Rosie*have altogether? - Problem 2:
*Rosie*had 3 beads. She found some more. Then, she had 8 beads. How many beads did*Rosie*find ? - Problem 3:
*Rosie*had some beads. She found 5 more beads. Then, she had 8 beads. How many beads did*Rosie*have at the beginning?

They can all be seen as addition problems (3 + 5 = 8). Still, they are all different as the Unknown Part varies. In Problem 1, the Unknown Part is the Result (3 + 5 = X), in Problem 2, it is the Change (3 + X = 8), in Problem 3, it is the Start (X + 5 = 8), making these problems more or less arduous to solve. And providing several ways for *Rosie* to deeply explore addition.

A similar strategy of varying the Unknown part can be used with subtraction problem (e.g. “Rosie had 5 beads. She gave 2 beads away. How many beads does Rosie have left?” vs “Rosie had 5 beads. She gave some beads away. Now she has 3 beads left. How many beads did Rosie give away?”)

And because there is more, much more than addition and subtraction problems, I thought this table (here) would be quite helpful for you to see examples of different types of word problems.

One more thing that I discovered recently to explore word problems further, and that *Rosie* enjoys a lot: provide her with an equation, and have her come up with a story that would match it (e.g. “The answer is 3 + 2 = 5. What could be the problem?” or see post Pit Stop #4). It was a little tricky at first, but *Rosie* now loves creating her own story, based on her own interests (after all, it is all about motivation, right?). Your child may like it too ?

Have fun !

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Reference:

- Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Franke, M., L. Levi, and Empson, S. (2014) Children’s Mathematics. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2nd Ed. ISBN-10: 0325052875

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