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5 Proven Steps to Improve the Understanding of Math Word Problems

Improving a student’s understanding of math word problems can lead to confidence in math. Using a proven strategy, like C.U.B.E.S., can help students have a plan that will help them tackle even the most difficult word problems. In this post, I’ll share the top 5 steps to helping students reach these goals.

How the C.U.B.E.S. Math Word Problems steps help learners

Understanding how to use the C.U.B.E.S. strategy with math word problems will help students have a clear plan of action. In this post, I’ll explain what C.U.B.E.S. is and how these 5 steps will help your students. Using colored pencils helps students to break apart important information in the word problems.

  • C in C.U.B.E.S. stands for Circle.
  • U in C.U.B.E.S. stands for Underline.
  • B in C.U.B.E.S. stands for Box.
  • E in C.U.B.E.S. stands for Evaluate and Eliminate
  • S in C.U.B.E.S. stands for Solve.
math word problems

The C.U.B.E.S. Word problemS strategy

C is for circle

We will use the example problem to go over the steps. Step #1 Read the whole problem then circle the key numbers and units. The key numbers and words in this problem are “22 cookies”, “a dozen cookies” and “15 cookies”. It is so important for students to understand what each number is describing.

math word problems

U is for underline

We will use the example problem to go over the steps. Step #2-Underline the question. Have the students read the question aloud to ensure that they really understand what the question is referring to in the math word problems.

math word problems

B is for box

We will use the example problem to go over the steps. Step #3-Box the math action words or operational sign. In this problem, we boxed “total”. Total means addition most of the time in math problems. So total tells student that they will be adding in this problem.

math word problems

E is for evaluate and eliminate

We will use the example problem to go over the steps. Step #4-Evaluate and eliminate. We wrote,”Total means to add.” There is no extra math information in this problem.

math word problems

S is for Solve

We will use the example problem to go over the steps. Step #5 Solve and write your answer in a complete sentence. Check your work! For this math problem, we made a note that a dozen means 12. Then we added the numbers. It is important that students write a complete sentence as the answer to the problem. Lastly, have students check all of their work.

math word problems

Using this math strategy with a variety of problems, will help strengthen math confidence. There are two sizes of the poster. One to display in class and one to use for student notebooks.

math word problems

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5 Proven Steps to Improve the Understanding of Math Word Problems
5 Proven Steps to Improve the Understanding of Math Word Problems
5 Proven Steps to Improve the Understanding of Math Word Problems
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