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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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Lesson Transcript

Instructor:
*Emily Hume*

Emily is a Reading Specialist and Literacy coach in a public elementary school with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

You might be pretty comfortable solving math word problems with just one step, but have you tried a two-step problem? They're not as tough as you might think! This lesson will help you learn how to tackle those two-step word problems with ease!

A **math word problem** is a math problem in which the information needed to solve the problem is provided using words rather than numbers or symbols. It requires you to read or listen before solving the problem using your math skills. Here's an example of a basic math word problem that may look familiar to you:

Many math word problems only have one step, like this example that requires you to subtract 1 from 12. But be careful - sometimes word problems have two steps. Two-step math word problems require you to solve two **equations** (or number sentences) before you come to an answer. The problem might have two different operations (like multiplication and addition), or it might have two of the same operation, like this one that requires subtraction twice:

Begin your two-step word problem like you would any other word problem by reading it carefully to decide what you need to do, including which step to complete first. Re-read the problem if necessary. Then, work through the first step. Look at the important information in the problem, and turn that information into an equation by translating the words into operations. Feel free to draw pictures to help you through the problem.

Let's try this on our two-step example word problem:

Jacob gave Julia 1 sticker. This translates to the equation 12 - 1, which equals 11. So, 11 is the answer to our first step.

Now, re-read the problem to make sure you're on the right track and then work through your second step. Again, try to turn the word problem into an equation. In the example problem, Jacob gives 4 of his 11 remaining stickers away to John. So, we can turn this word problem into the equation 11 - 4, which equals 7. So, 7 is the answer to our second step and the word problem.

After completing the problem, make sure to check your work and reread the question in the word problem and ask yourself, 'Did I answer the question?'

Let's apply what we've learned and answer a new two-step math word problem. The first thing we need to do is read the problem carefully to make sure we completely understand it:

Next, we need to decide what step to do first. The first step in this case is to find out how many total cupcakes Mom made. Then, we can take away the 3 that were eaten to find out how many are left.

To find out how many Mom made in all, you'll need to add yesterday's and today's totals together:

- 12 + 24 = 36

Mom made 36 cupcakes in all. You have just finished the first step of this two-step problem!

Next, re-read the problem and start on the second step. The word problem is asking how many are left after you ate 3. So, you need to take Mom's total (36) and subtract (or take away) 3.

- 36 - 3 = 33

The answer to our final step and the word problem is 33. Before you walk away from the problem, make sure to check your work and ask yourself, 'Did I answer the question?'

In a math word problem, the information needed to solve the problem is provided in words rather than numbers or symbols. While many of these problems have only one step, a two-step word problem requires you to solve two different equations before coming to the answer. The two-step word problem might have two different operations (like multiplication and addition) or two of the same operation (like subtraction and subtraction).

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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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