# Types of Word Problems

Types of word problems are always a challenge for students. There are so many processes involved in solving word problems that it can be challenging to pinpoint concerns. Is it reading comprehension? Is it computation? Are students overly relying on key words? And the list goes on.

One of my favorite strategies is to make sure students are familiar with all types of word problems. This Word Problems resource is very helpful for teaching this challenging skill!

There are three main types of addition and subtraction problems:

• joining problems
• separating problems
• comparing problems

Students should solve problems where the result is unknown, change is unknown, or start is unknown. When I begin teaching types of word problems, I use small numbers so students can focus on the meaning of the problem, rather than computation. This also gives students the opportunity to use counters to illustrate the problem, role playing and writing their own word problems.

## Multiplication and Division

There are also three main types of multiplication and division word problems:

• equal groups
• arrays
• comparing problems

Within each type of problem, the product may be unknown, the group size may be unknown, or the number of groups may be unknown. Once again, I use counters to have students determine which equation to use to determine how to solve the different types of problems. Students should also notice the difference between addition/subtraction problems and multiplication/division problems.

In the resource, there are posters for each type of word problem. You can display these after you introduce that type of word problem and then refer to the posters throughout the year. You can even print this in a smaller size so students can add these to their math notebooks.

## Types of Word Problems Booklet

A great way to help students develop an understanding of word problems is to have them write word problems. In the resource, there is a booklet is for addition and subtraction, a booklet for multiplication and division, and a booklet that combines both addition and subtraction. In the addition and subtraction booklet, I replaced all numbers with letters, because I wanted my students to not focus on a numerical answer, but the equation used to solve the problem. Over the years, I’ve found that my students’ primary focus was the answer, not the process.

When students have to write a word problem to reflect a certain style of word problem, it raises their level of thinking and problem solving significantly. This is a much more complex skill, so we typically practice writing word problems through guided practice first.

For additional practice solving different types of word problems, there are 22 addition and subtraction task cards and 18 multiplication and division task cards, for a total of 40 task cards. There are two task cards for each type of word problem, so all problem types are equally represented.

You could use the task cards as a math center or as any part of your math instruction.
This word problem practice was a huge help in allowing my students to dig even deeper with word problems.  If you’re interested in checking it out, here is a link that will take you to a preview. You can learn more about teaching elementary math in this post.

### 4 thoughts on “Types of Word Problems”

1. I was looking for the blue topped poster that has a grid showing ALL the types of problems. I bought the file, but it was not in it. Where is that available?

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