Your son or daughter has word problems for science homework. How do you help your children become successful word problem solvers? Help your child by developing a process that you can apply to a variety of problems. Recognize that effectively completing word problems requires a series of logical steps. The first strategy is to understand the content of the language of the problem. The second is to recognize that a science word problem is an application of algebra. Third, the values ​​described in the problem are interconnected. Fourth, determine the appropriate algebraic equation for the problem. Finally, document the entire problem solving process.

1. Successful completion of science word problems requires good reading comprehension skills. Word problem solvers cannot effectively complete the word problem without understanding the problem itself. What information in the problem is important to solve an equation? What information can be discarded? Distance, time, and speed are important quantities that would be listed in a car speed problem. The color of the car would have no impact to solve the problem.

2. Science word problems are applications of algebraic expressions or equations. Good word problem solvers distinguish between the data given in the problem and the value to be calculated. The data always includes numbers and units. The value to be calculated has only one unit. The unit describes the measure involved.

3. Successful science word problem solvers see how the mathematical expressions in the statements are interconnected with each other. How could a troubleshooter complete this example?

Sam drives his green car at 40 kilometers per hour. How far will you travel in 2 hours?

A good strategy to use is to first look for numbers combined with science-related terminology that describes measurements, or what is, or is known, in the problem. Speed ​​can be measured in kilometers per hour. Time can be measured in hours. The phrases, 40 kilometers per hour and 2 hours, are given, or are the known amounts, in the example. Speed ​​and time are interconnected. Speed ​​is a relationship of distance and time. The verbal problem will also include a value without number, or the unknown. The phrases "How many" or "How much" or "What is" are good clues of this value. The unknown quantity is the distance, which is distinguished by the phrase "how far". The color of your car, green, is irrelevant to solving the problem.

4. Successful problem solvers determine the appropriate algebraic expression or equation for the problem. The appropriate equation for the example is: distance equals velocity multiplied by time, or mathematically, d = velocity * t. Now the problem is mathematical in nature. By substituting speed for 40 kilometers per hour and time for 2 hours, the troubleshooter gets a response of 80 kilometers. Please note that the answer includes both a number and a unit. Sometimes the equation must be rewritten using algebraic rules, so the unknown quantity is on one side of the equal sign by itself.

5. Successful problem solvers document his thinking process by writing down each step he uses to solve the problem. The example above is fairly basic, which most students can discover without writing their work. Science word problems are also applications of scientific content. With more challenging scientific content, the corresponding word problems may at first seem too difficult. Breaking down the problem into simpler steps, including writing math work, often helps create success. As you write each given, unknown equation, equation, math step, and answer, the most challenging science word problems are less difficult. By first applying the problem-solving process to basic problems, the successful problem solver will soon develop a method for applying it to more difficult science word problems.

You can help your children develop a successful process that they can use to solve science word problems and become effective word problem solvers. First, understand the content of the problem language. Second, recognize that the verbal problems of science are applications of algebra. Third, the amounts used in the problems are interconnected. Fourth, decide the appropriate algebraic equation to solve each problem.

Author's Bio: 

As a math teacher in Asia, I face the same problem day by day.