Detailed Solution for Word Problem of the Day


This problem is similar to the last one. And if your students have mastered the concept of translating word problems into math expressions, then setting up this problem correctly should be verified. This is critical, so any misconception or confusion should be addressed thoroughly.  If the initial setup of the problem is incorrect, then the solution will almost always be incorrect too.

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How to dissect this problem

So just like before, translating this problem to the equivalent math equation requires students to read each section of the problem, one at a time then write down the math representation as they go along.   

Let's take a closer look at how the initial equation is derived from the word problem.

Step 1: As with any word problem, the initial setup is the most important. If the initial setup is not correct then you're essentially solving a different problem. So it is important to take each thought in the word problem and translate it appropriately. 

"If Aaron's age is decreased by Joshua's age..."

This is a "thought" so let's stop here and translate it.  

A - J

The next piece...

"the result is"

The word "is" is a keyword that translates to "equal".  So we get:

A - J =

Keep going...

"half of"

We're talking about taking half of "something". Therefore, so far we have: 

A - J = 0.5("something")

The "something" is "Aaron's age 4 years ago". Therefore the "something" looks like this:

A - 4

Plugging this information into the main equation, the full resulting math equation to solve looks like this:

A - J = 0.5(A-4)

Now we can move onto step 2, 3 & 4 below where what we are using arithmetic and algebraic techniques to solve the equation in step 1 for A


Have you students mastered translating word problems into their equivalent math expression? Please share some of your student's "sticking points" in translating/interpreting word problems... 

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