# Decoding Math Word Problems in 3rd Grade Math

Age

8

Adding and subtracting might seem like a snap compared to the more complicated concepts your child will be introduced to in 3rd grade math. Multiplication and division — not to mention fractions and decimals! — can be daunting at first, so teachers will introduce word problems to translate all those tricky symbols into real-world experiences. Trouble is, some students are better with numbers than the reading comprehension skills word problems demand. Help your 3rd grade math student make the leap from story to equation by pointing out how math factors in to their everyday life. Once he has lived through a few successful math adventures, he won’t be as daunted by a similar puzzle on the page.

• Extra Fractions, Hold the Anchovies
The next family pizza night, use the helpful pie shape to sharpen your 3rd grade math student’s fraction knowledge. If her hungry tween-age brother eats 5/8 of the pizza, how many slices are left for the rest of the family to split? Have the pizza cut into thinner slices for more advanced equations.
• Supermarket Division
A visit to the grocery store is always a prime opportunity to point out everyday math concepts, and many 3rd grade math word problems use shopping as their basis. Tell your little shopper that you’ve allotted six dollars to buy avocados to make guacamole, and each avocado costs two dollars. How many will you be able to buy? Remind him of his lesson later as he scoops the results up on a tortilla chip.
• Wii Love Subtraction
Your 3rd grader probably loves video games, and they bring out her natural competitive instinct. If she scored a 22 on a Legend of Zelda challenge, and you only scored 16, how many points did she beat you by? She can celebrate her six-point victory as you celebrate her subtraction skills.
• Mixed Berries
Once he has a mastery of simple word problems that use only one math concept, introduce a situation that will call for mixed equations. If you are picking strawberries in your garden and he picks 10 and you pick 12, but three weren’t ripe and he ate two, how many will you be taking with you on a picnic?
Problem Solving