Why Successful Engagement with Word Problems can be Critical for your Student's Success

Sep 13, 2018 | Cinco Ranch

"Why Should I Care About Word Problems? As long as I can do the math I should be fine... Right?"


By Mathnasium of Cinco Ranch  |  September 13, 2018

Wrong. As students move and progress through their schooling career, one constant always returns again and again - word problems. Regardless of the exact mathematical topic being taught, complex word problems rear their head and make an appearance. 

Whether it's multi-variable calculus or learning how to count, word problems serve a vital role in converting the base mathematics into real world situations. They take what at first appears as vague mathematical theory and ground it in the real world, allowing it to take shape in the minds of our students. 

Beyond just the materialization of concept, word problems provide several other benefits to a learning mind. 

  1. Critical Thinking. While math certainly involves a substantial amount of number crunching, one of the more fundamental benefits is the development of our logic and problem solving skills. Word problems often exemplify this aspect, asking the student to engage critically with the situation and utilize their entire toolbox of mathematical tools to solve the issue at hand.
  2. Understanding. Many students and even teachers believe mathematics to be about memorizing and applying formulas, however this only gets one so far. Word problems often ask students to not only know the material they work with, but to parse the situation and understand how the pieces work in relation to each other.
  3. Creativity. As most of us have discovered at one point or another, there is almost never a singular solution to a problem. Multiple solutions often exist side by side, and nowhere is this more apparent than when students attempt to solve word problems. The situations created in word problems often inspire unique approaches and lead to the development of elastic, creative young minds.

The benefits of word problems for a developing mind are both varied and powerful, consequently demanding our attention through the entirety of educational development. If you'd like to check out some further insight into this topic, head over to the official Mathnasium blog post over here.