TI-AIE: Reading, writing and modelling mathematics: word problems

What this unit is about

Students and even adults often find mathematics very difficult because they are not able to relate mathematical facts to a real-life context and vice versa. Word problems are often seen as a way to bridge the divide between real life and the mathematics classroom. However, students across the world often perform poorly in tests involving word problems. Even when students have mastered the technical competencies of doing the mathematical operations involved in the word problems, they still can find it difficult to work out solutions to word problems require them to apply those techniques (Morales et al., 1985). Much research has focused on what the issues are with word problems in mathematics.

This unit looks at learning to work with word problems by giving you ideas to help your students to both read and write mathematical word problems. It uses the idea of mathematical modelling to help your students understand that word problems are models, and do not necessarily represent everyday life.

Many of the word problems used in this unit have been adapted from word problems in the NCERT textbooks for Class IX and X.

What you can learn in this unit