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10 Word Problem Mistakes Elementary School Students Make

Word problems are challenging for students to solve. The difficulty lies in that word problems relate to many math concepts and mathematical relationships. The main hurdle is to translate the word problem into its mathematical equations.


Often students make mistakes because they apply the wrong calculation rules or incorrectly interpret the problem and, therefore, perform the wrong calculation.
Below we have outlined 10 common mistakes students make, and how to solve the word problems correctly.

Different units

5 kg of sand is packed into bags of 100g. How many sandbags are there?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

Segmenting

Diego takes 8 minutes to cut a block of wood into 5 pieces. How long will he take to cut it into 10 pieces?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

Intervals

Cars in a parking lot were placed at equal intervals apart. If the first and the 15th car were 42 m apart, how far apart were the first and the 10th cars?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes


Groups of Items

3 jugs of milk were sold for $20. How much do 18 milk jugs cost?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

Fraction of Total

Vik spends 1⁄3 of his money on stickers and 1⁄5 of his money on candy. What fraction of his money does he have left?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes


Fraction of Remainder

Spencer spends 1⁄3 of his money on a new game and 1⁄5 of the remaining money on a bag of chips. What fraction of his money does he have left?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

Fraction of

Express $2 as a fraction of 80 cents.

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Fraction with Units

May had 8⁄9 m of string. She used 1⁄2 m of it as lace for her shoes. How much string does she have left?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

Rest of Fraction

2⁄5 of the ice cream is chocolate flavor, the rest is vanilla flavor.

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

 

Remainder with Fraction

There was 8⁄9 of an apple pie left on the counter. John and his sister ate 1⁄3 of the pie each. What fraction of the apple pie was left?

 

Word problem mistakes

 

 

Word problem mistakes

Word problems worksheets

 

We have created hundreds of word problem worksheets for every grade, kindergarten to grade 5, in our math worksheets section.

 

Word problem worksheet