Word problems are one of the first ways we see applied math, and also one of the most anxiety producing math challenges many grade school kids face. This page has a great collection of word problems that provide a gentle introduction to word problems for all four basic math operations. You'll find addition word problems, subtraction word problems, multiplication word problems and division word problems, all starting with simple easy-to-solve questions that build up to more complex skills necessary for many standardized tests. As they progress, you'll also find a mix of operations that require students to figure out which type of story problem they need to solve. And if you need help, check out word problem tricks at the bottom of this page!
These introductory word problems for addition are perfect for first grade or second grade applied math.Addition Word Problems
These worksheets include simple word problems for subtraction with smaller quantities. Watch for words like difference and remaining.Subtraction Word Problems
This set of worksheets includes a mix of addition and subtraction word problems. Students are required to figured out which operation to apply given the problem context.Mixed Addition and Subtraction Word Problems
This is the first set of word problem worksheets the introduces multiplication. These worksheets include only multiplication story problems; see worksheets in the following sections for mixed operations.Multiplication Word Problems
These division story problems deal with only whole divisions (quotients without remainders.) This is a great first step to recognizing the keywords that signal you are solving a division word problem.Division Word Problems
If you've been working as Troop Cookie Mom (or Dad!) you'll know what kind of math we've been practicing... These worksheets are primarily division word problems that introduce remainders. Pull your tagalongs or your thin mints out of the box and figure out how many remainders you'll be allowed to eat!Girl Scout Cookie Division
The worksheets in this section are made up of story problems using division and involving remainders. These are similar to the Girl Scout problems in the prior section, but with different units.Division With Remainders Word Problems
This worksheets combine basic multiplication and division word problems. The division problems do not include remainders. These worksheets require the students to differentiate between the phrasing of a story problem that requires multiplication versus one that requires division to reach the answer.Mixed Multiplication and Division Word Problems
The whole enchilda! These workshes mix addition, subtraction, multiplication and division word problems. These worksheets will test a students ability to choose the correct operation based on the story problem text.Mixed Operation Word Problems
One way to make a word problem slightly more complex is to include extra (but unused) information in the problem text. These worksheets have addition word problems with extra unused facts in the problem.Extra Facts Addition Word Problems
Word problem worksheets for subtraction with extra unused facts in each problem. The worksheets start out with subtraction problems with smaller values and progress through more difficult problems.Extra Facts Subtraction Word Problems
Mixed operation addition and subtraction word problem worksheets with extra unused facts in the problems.Extra Facts Addition and Subtraction Word Problems
Word problems for multiplication with extra unused facts in the problem. The worksheets in this set start out with multiplication problems with smaller values and progress through more difficult problems.Extra Facts Multiplication Word Problems
The worksheets in this section include math word problems for division with extra unused facts in the problem. The quotients in these division problems do not include remainders.Extra Facts Division Word Problems
This is a collection of worksheets with mixed multiplication and division word problems and extra unused facts in the problem. The quotients in these division problems do not include remainders.Extra Facts Multiplication and Division Word Problems
These story problems deal with travel time, including determining the travel distance, travel time and speed using miles (customry units). This is a very common class of word problem and specific practice with these worksheets will prepare students when they encounter similar problems on standardized tests.Travel Time Word Problems (Customary)
Wondering when the train arrives? These story problems deal with travel time, including determining the travel distance, travel time and speed using kilometers (metric units).Travel Time Word Problems (Metric)
The math worksheets on this section of the site deal with simple word problems appropriate for primary grades. The simple addition word problems can be introduced very early, in first or second grade depending on student aptitude. Follow those worksheets up with the subtraction word problems once subtraction concept are covered, and then proceed with multiplication and division word problems in the same fashion.
Word problems are often a source of anxiety for students because we tend to introduce math operations in the abstract. Students struggle to apply even elementary operations to word problems unless they have been taught consistently to think about math operations in their day to day routines. Talking with kids regularly about 'how many more do you need' or 'how many do you have left over' or other seemingly simple questions when asked regularly can build that basic number sense that helps enormously when word problems and applied math start to show up.
There are many tricks for solving word problems that can bridge the gap, and they can be helpful tools if students are either struggling with where to start with a problem or just need a way to check their thinking on a particular problem.
Make sure your student reads the entire problem first. It is very easy to start reading a word problem and think after the first sentence or two that 'I know what they're asking for...' and then have the problem take an entirely different turn. Overcoming this early solution bias can be difficult, and it is much better to develop the habit of making a complete pass over the problem before deciding on a path to the solution.
There are particular words that seem to show up in word problems for different operations that can tip you off to what might be the correct operation to apply. These key words aren't a sure-fire way to know what to do with a problem, but they can be a useful starting point.
For example, phrases like 'combined,' 'total,' 'together' or 'sum' are very often signals that the problem is going to involve addition.
Subtraction word problems very often use words such as 'difference,' 'less,' or 'decrease' in their wording. Word problems for younger kids will also use verbs like 'gave' or 'shared' as a stand-in for subtraction.
The key phrases to watch out for multiplication word problems include obvious ones like 'times' and 'product,' but also be on the look out for 'for each' and 'every.'
Learning when to apply division in a word problem can be tricky, especially for younger kids who haven't fully developed a concept of what division can be used for... But that's exactly why division word problems can be so useful! If you see words like 'per' or 'among' in the word problem text, your division radar should be sounding off loud and clear. Pay attention to 'shared among' and make sure students don't confuse this phrasing with a subtraction word problem. That's a clear example of when paying attention to the language is very important.
One key bit of advice, especially for basic word problems, is to encourage students to draw a picture. Most early grade school word problems are basic counting exercises, where you're dealing with quantities or sets that are fairly small. If students can draw a picture of the problem (even using simple representations like squares or circles for the units discussed in the problem), then it can help them visualize exactly what's occurring.
Another useful visualization strategy is to use manipulatives. Paper clips, checkers or other handy objects can stand in place of the problem's subject, and this provides an opportunity to work up other simple examples with different numbers.