Online Workshop: Teaching Word Problems in Middle School Math


Every math educator appreciates the difficulty of teaching word problems. Your students know the math – why can’t they use it in context?

In this workshop, you’ll learn the strategies and process to be successful teaching word problems.  You’ll also learn to use the digital tools (Google Slides, Google Meet) that will bring hands-on learning to your online classroom.

Enrollment in this workshop includes all the print and digital resources you’ll need to teach your students to solve the most challenging word problems.

This is a 3-part online workshop, conducted in real-time with a live facilitator.

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Teaching Word Problems in Middle School

Many students learn tricks (like CUBES and keywords), but they continue to struggle with word problems. Teaching word problems to middle school students involves teaching them the meanings behind the numbers and operations. And encouraging them to think about what is actually happening in the problem.

In this workshop, you’ll learn the process and strategies that make teaching word problems accessible to anyone.

Process: We focus on the four-step Polya process (Understand, Plan, Solve, Reflect). This helps students approach a problem, and understand whether their answers are reasonable.

Strategies: Students also need to know how to translate word problems into mathematical representations. We’ll cover when to apply strategies like Work BackwardDraw a Picture, Write an Equation, and more.

For more on teaching word problems, read this blog post.

Why Is Teaching Word Problems Important for Middle School?

Teaching word problems offers several benefits. For one, students need practice with word problems to apply what they learn in class to the real world.

Not to mention, state tests are filled with word problems. If students learn the standards, but can’t make sense of word problems, they won’t pass these tests.

For one, they can be used for many different standards, across grades levels. Teaching word problems also supports practice standards MP1 (Problem Solving), MP2 (Abstract Reasoning), and MP3 (Constructing Viable Arguments).

Besides their academic benefits, good word problems are fun and interactive. You’ll challenge your students to learn creatively and collaboratively. And the lessons work well in-person or online.

Workshop Overview

The workshop is divided into three parts: Solve the ProblemsDesign the Proofs, and Teach the Proofs

Session 1: Do the Math: Participants use the Polya Process and digital tools to solve challenging word problems.

Session 2: Explore the Strategies: Learn the elements of the Polya Process and how to apply problem-solving strategies to your grade level content.

Session 3: Teach the Lesson: Learn to plan and conduct problem-based lessons in your online classroom. You’ll see how to set up small group discussions with Google Meets and use tools like Google Slides to create interactive digital assignments. (Registration includes access to all digital resources and templates used in the session). 

About the Presenter

Jeff Lisciandrello is the founder of Room to Discover and an educational consultant specializing in student-centered learning practicesJeff Lisciandrello is a curriculum specialist and educational technology consultant specializing in student- centered instruction. He has over 15 years experience as a classroom teacher and instructional coach. In Jeff’s workshops, you won’t just hear about differentiation and inquiry-based learning: You’ll experience them first-hand. Find him on Twitter @EdTechJeff


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