Back To Course

Algebra I: High School20 chapters | 168 lessons | 1 flashcard set

Start Your Free Trial To Continue Watching

As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 70,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.

Free 5-day trial
Your next lesson will play in
10 seconds

Lesson Transcript

Instructor:
*Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer*

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

When it comes to solving math word problems, there is a correct way of setting up the problem and labeling the various parts of the problem so that you can solve the problem easily. Watch this video lesson to learn how you can do it.

We begin with a problem. I have a friend, James, who has a part-time job where he earns $12.50 per hour. On Saturdays, he works 5 hours and on Fridays he works 3 hours. James wants to know how much money he has to spend at the end of one week.

The first step in correctly setting up our math word problem is to label the important parts of the problem. By important, I mean the parts of the problem that we need to use to solve the problem. How do we know what these are? We begin by looking for the kind of answer the problem wants. In our problem, the problem is asking about the total amount earned at the end of a week. I go ahead and highlight the phrase that says that: how much money he has to spend at the end of one week. Next, I think of what I need to calculate that answer. Well, I need to know how much he worked and how much he makes. The problem tells me that he makes $12.50 per hour. I can highlight this part. The problem also tells me that he works 5 hours on Saturday and 3 hours on Fridays. I go ahead and highlight this information also. Do I need anything else to solve? No, so I can ignore the other words in the problem.

Now, I can label these parts of the problem. I am going to label what I am looking for, my answer, with an *x*. I write this *x* next to the highlighted part of the problem that tells me what to solve for. Next I label my earnings for Friday and Saturday. I can write 'Friday earnings' and 'Saturday earnings' next to those highlighted parts. Alternately, I can abbreviate to 'S' for Saturday's earnings and 'F' for Friday's earnings.

I am now done with labeling and now need to write my math expression that will allow me to solve the problem easily. This part requires a bit of thinking, but it's worth it!

I begin writing my math expression by putting down *x* = since I know that my answer equals something. I put down *x* for my answer part that I've labeled, and I put the equals sign down to let me know that I need to solve something to find my answer. What goes after the equals sign? Well, the problem wants to know how much James earns in a week. If James only works on Fridays and Saturdays, then the total amount of earnings for the week will be his Friday earnings plus his Saturday earnings. I've labeled those parts of the problem already, so I am going to write those labels down. I can either write 'Friday earnings' or 'F,' and I can write 'Saturday earnings' or 'S'. I put a plus sign in between these two parts to let me know that I need to add them together. So, now my math expression looks like *x* = F + S. But what is F and S? If James gets paid $12.50 per hour, then the amount he earns each day depends on how many hours he works. I need to multiply his earnings by the number of hours he works. For Friday it would be $12.50*3, and for Saturday it would be $12.50*5. So, I can replace the 'F' with $12.50*3 and the 'S' with $12.50*5. I now have the math problem *x* = $12.50*3 + $12.50*5.

This problem looks easy to solve, doesn't it? All I have to do is do the multiplications and add the results. That's not bad at all. Let me go ahead and do that to see what kind of answer I get. Multiplying the $12.50 times 3 gives me $37.50, while multiplying the $12.50 times 5 gives me $62.50. I now need to add these together to get $100.00. And guess what? I am done solving my problem. James makes $100 at the end of a week, and that is how much money he has to spend at the end of one week.

You can see how correctly setting up your math word problem makes it very easy to solve for the answer at the end. The hardest part is writing the math expression, but with a bit of thought, it can be done. Once it's done, the rest is easy!

What we've learned is that the correct way of setting up your math word problem is to follow certain steps.

1. Label your important parts. You first need to figure out what the problem is asking for, and then you need to think about the information you need to find that answer. You highlight these parts of the problem. Then you put labels on them so you can keep them organized and not let them confuse you. Use either descriptive phrases or letters. I usually label the answer as *x* to keep it separate from all the other labels.

2. Write the math expression to solve. Once you've labeled everything, now it's time to write the math expression. You begin with *x* = and then write down the other labels using the correct math operation to find your answer. This part requires a bit of thought to know how to arrange your labels and what math operation to put. Think in terms of your basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You know what these operations do, so don't over-think the problem. For your labels, write down the important numbers for them as we did with our problem.

3. Solve the math expression. Once you're done writing the math expression, your next and final step is to solve it. Follow your order of operations to solve and get your answer.

You should be able to do the following after viewing this video lesson:

- Label the various parts of a math word problem
- Solve math word problems by following a series of steps

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.

Create your account

Already a member? Log In

BackDid you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

You are viewing lesson
Lesson
1 in chapter 8 of the course:

Back To Course

Algebra I: High School20 chapters | 168 lessons | 1 flashcard set

- What is the Correct Setup to Solve Math Problems?: Writing Arithmetic Expressions 5:50
- Expressing Relationships as Algebraic Expressions 5:12
- Evaluating Simple Algebraic Expressions 7:27
- Combining Like Terms in Algebraic Expressions 7:04
- Practice Simplifying Algebraic Expressions 8:27
- Negative Signs and Simplifying Algebraic Expressions 9:38
- Writing Equations with Inequalities: Open Sentences and True/False Statements 4:22
- Common Algebraic Equations: Linear, Quadratic, Polynomial, and More 7:28
- Defining, Translating, & Solving One-Step Equations 6:15
- Solving Equations Using the Addition Principle 5:20
- Solving Equations Using the Multiplication Principle 4:03
- Solving Equations Using Both Addition and Multiplication Principles 6:21
- Collecting Like Terms On One Side of an Equation 6:28
- Solving Equations Containing Parentheses 6:50
- Solving Equations with Infinite Solutions or No Solutions 4:45
- Translating Words to Algebraic Expressions 6:31
- How to Solve One-Step Algebra Equations in Word Problems 5:05
- How to Solve Equations with Multiple Steps 5:44
- How to Solve Multi-Step Algebra Equations in Word Problems 6:16
- Algebra Terms Flashcards
- Go to High School Algebra: Algebraic Expressions and Equations

- CTEL 1, 2, 3 Combined Exam (031/032/033): Study Guide & Practice
- MoGEA Science & Social Studies Subtest: Study Guide & Practice
- CSET Physical Education (129/130/131): Study Guide & Practice
- Ohio Assessments for Educators - Computer/Technology (Subtest II) (017): Practice & Study Guide
- GACE Family & Consumer Sciences (544): Study Guide & Practice
- ACT Math: Types of Functions
- ACT Math: Number & Quantity
- ACT Math: Lines and Angles
- Essential Geography Concepts
- Life Science Concepts
- Study.com ASWB Scholarship: Application Form & Information
- ACCUPLACER Prep Product Comparison
- Accuplacer Test Locations
- HSPT Test Cost
- HSPT Exam Registration Information
- HESI Test Day Preparation
- Study.com AP Scholarship: Application Form & Information

- Jim Crow Laws in To Kill a Mockingbird
- Teaching ELL Students Narrative Writing
- Selecting Grade-Appropriate Texts
- The Origin of Conflict Between Muslims & Hindus
- Practical Application for Software Engineering: Component-Level Design
- Utilizing High Performing Teams to Build Resilient Organizations
- Leveraging a Coaching Program for Succession Planning
- How Learning Organizations Use Mental Models
- Quiz & Worksheet - Language Objective for ESL Students
- Quiz & Worksheet - Using Tech for ELL Teacher PD
- Quiz & Worksheet - Victorian Architecture
- Quiz & Worksheet - Accommodating English Language Learners
- Flashcards - Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology
- Flashcards - Clinical Assessment in Psychology

- Ohio Assessments for Educators - Marketing (026): Practice & Study Guide
- MTEL Chemistry (12): Practice & Study Guide
- 9th Grade Physical Science Textbook
- PECT PAPA: Practice & Study Guide
- DSST Technical Writing: Study Guide & Test Prep
- Chapter 4: Solving Inequalities
- Math Foundations: College Math Lesson Plans
- Quiz & Worksheet - Reference Angles & Unit Circle
- Quiz & Worksheet - Exterior Angle Theorem
- Quiz & Worksheet - Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads
- Quiz & Worksheet - The History of the Harmonica
- Quiz & Worksheet - Types & Designs of Trusses

- What is the Golden Ratio in Math? - Definition & Examples
- And Then There Were None: Setting & Theme
- How Does Homeschooling Work?
- How to Get PMP Certification Requirements & Eligibility
- How to Advertise on Study.com
- Demographics for English Language Learners
- How to Pass the STAAR Test
- Kansas Science Standards for 2nd Grade
- How to See If Your School Accepts Study.com Credit
- TExES PPR Test Registration Information
- Washington State Science Standards for 2nd Grade
- Writing Prompts for Middle School

- Tech and Engineering - Videos
- Tech and Engineering - Quizzes
- Tech and Engineering - Questions & Answers

Browse by subject