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## Solving Word Problems

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**“Word Problems?**I just skip them!”**Don’t Worry!**With just 4 easy steps, you can become… a Word Problem Whiz!**Step 1**UNDERSTAND the problem. What are you trying to figure out? Here’s an example:**Yesterday, Alex saw 14 birds in his backyard. Today, he**saw 12. How many birds did he see in all? In this problem, what are you trying to figure out?**If you said:**“How many birds did Alex see in all?” then… You’re right!**Step 2**Get a PLAN. How will you answer the question? Should you ADD or SUBTRACT?**Look for clues.**Here are some CLUE WORDS that will help you decide what to do.**Addition Clue Words**in all altogether sum total**Subtraction Clue Words**how many more how many are left difference**Let’s look at the example again.**Yesterday, Alex saw 14 birds in his backyard. Today, he saw 12. How many birds did he see in all? Do you see any CLUE WORDS?**If you said…**“in all,” then… You’re right!**The words “in all” tell us that we should ADD!**Now that we UNDERSTAND the problem, and have a PLAN, we’re ready for the next step!**Step 3**SOLVE it! Write a number sentence using the information in the problem, and…**Give it a try!**Yesterday, Alex saw 14 birds in his backyard. Today, he saw 12. How many birds did he see in all? Write a number sentence and SOLVE it.**If you wrote…**14 + 12 = 26 then… You’re right!**Step 4**LOOK BACK. Does your answer fit the question?**We had to find out how many birds Alex saw in all.**We added the number he saw yesterday and the number he saw today.**Our answer was “Alex saw 26 birds in all.”**It makes sense!**We did it!**We are Word Problem Whizzes!**Here are the steps once more:**Step 1 – UNDERSTAND the problem. Step 2 – Get a PLAN. Step 3 – SOLVE it! Step 4 – LOOK BACK.