You can read more about the Addition & Subtraction Word Problems Resource that I use in my classroom in this blog post. Removing the distraction of the numbers helps students focus on the situation of the problem and understand the action or relationship of the numbers.
Below are five math problem-solving strategies to use when teaching word problems using any resource. It also keeps students from solving the problem before we talk about the relationship of the numbers.
The most important thing about models is to move away from them. You spend so long teaching students how to use models and then you don’t want them to use a model.
Well, actually, you want students to move toward efficiency.
Use number sets that students have already practiced computationally.
If you’ve taught make 10, use numbers that make 10.
Younger students will act out problems, draw out problems with representations, and draw out problems with circles or lines. As the numbers get larger, the model needs to represent the relationship of the numbers Here is a student moving from drawing circles to using an inverted-v.
Students should be solidly using one model before transitioning to another.
I also change numbers throughout the year, from one-digit to two-digit numbers.
The beauty of the blank spaces is that I can put any numbers I want into the problem, to practice the strategies we have been working on in class.