Sarah Powell – How To Teach Students To Understand Word Problems

By Stephen Hurley

Host Stephen Hurley scans the education ecosystem, looking for the people and ideas that are starting to change the way we think about teaching, learning, schools and communities.

Sarah Powell (University of Texas at Austin), focuses on students’ proficiency with setting-up
and solving word problems. Research indicates that teaching students to understand the structure of word problems leads to better problem solving (Powell, Berry, & Barnes, 2019), and in this talk, Powell addresses what this looks like.

She demonstrates how she taught elementary students three additive word-problem structures with a combination of explicit modeling, dialogue, gestures, visual representations, and authentic practice opportunities.

She will highlight the word problem attack strategy and teaching students to use equations to represent a word problem’s structure.