Multiplication Word Problems

multiplication world problemsIf you had problems with multiplication word problems in school, it’s likely that your children will have the same problems when they get to school. You still have a chance to help them with their homework no matter how complicated word problems were for you. Just refresh yourself on how to work out multiplication word problems. Try these tips below to work out the example problems. Don’t let big numbers get in the way – try vedic multiplication to learn how to multiply big numbers quickly.

The Basic Idea of Multiplication Word Problems

When introducing students to multiplication word problems in third grade, the main idea the teacher is trying to show the children is about groups of the same size. That is the basic principle behind multiplication. You have three groups of four balls, which when written as a multiplication problem is 3 x 4. The teacher will want the students to be able to recognize the groups without being distracted by what the item is. Learn the secrets of mental math with an online course.

Use Models or Images

One of the best ways to help your child grasp the concept of multiplication word problems is by using objects at home, or you can use pictures. Here’s an example problem that you should be able to bring to life by using objects at home:

Each carton of eggs holds twelve eggs. If you have three cartons, how many eggs do you have total?

If you don’t want to have three cartons of eggs lying around, you can use old cartons and plastic eggs. Otherwise, use empty cartons so your child can at least count the number of spaces in the carton. First, you’re going to want your child to ask a few questions:

How many eggs does one carton hold?

How many cartons are there?

Once they can find the answer to those questions, they will have the two numbers they will use in their multiplication problem. The answer to the first question is 12, which your child can double check by counting the spaces in an egg carton. Remember to use the models only as an opportunity for them to check their answer. The answer to the second question is 3, and you should have 3 cartons available so that they can see the group together. Their multiplication problem should be 12 x 3.

Your child should then be able to work out the multiplication problem, and they should get 36 as their answer. If they don’t, have them try working out the problem again. Most teachers have their students memorize the multiplication tables from zero to twelve, and if your child’s teacher hasn’t, help them work it out by breaking down the problem:

10 x 3 = 30

2 x 3 = 6

30 + 6 = 36

If they are still having difficulty finding the answer, let them count the number of spaces in the three cartons so that they can see the answer would indeed be 36.

Once they grasp the basic idea of groups, try to mix things up so that they can see it isn’t the item that matters but rather the numbers. A great way to do this would be to take different colored beads and create a model for this example below:

Abigail has five red beads. Charlie has five blue beads. Ethan has five green beads. Jessica has five white beads. How many beads are there?

An example like this would be confusing for a child who focuses on the words instead of the numbers. Children who can recognize the groupings even with the different colors will have no problems figuring out this example. Using the model as a guide, have your child answer the following questions:

How many beads does each child have?

How many children are there?

Most children will think that simply adding the numbers would be the easiest way to solve this problem. However, they can save themselves some time simply by multiplying. The answer to the first question is 5, and this will be obvious to the child because they will be grouped by color to show each different child. If you like, you can even put name tags next to each grouping of beads so the children are included in the model. The answer to the second question is 4, which the child should easily figure out because there are four different colors. Their multiplication problem should be 5 x 4.

You can then return to the original problem and ask them how many beads there are. If they answer 5, they’re focusing on the colors of the beads rather than the numbers they extracted from the problem. Continue to use models or pictures to help them see the groups that make up the math problem rather than the unimportant information within. If you have an iOS device, you should consider building a math quiz for your child using this simple class. Here are a few more examples you can do at home with your child:

First Example

Michael eats three meals a day. How many meals does he eat in one week?

Ask your child: How many meals does Michael eat in one day? How many days are in one week?

Notes: You might want to consider using a calendar or drawing a picture with your child to show Michael’s three meals for each day of the week.

Second Example

The Henderson family is planning a pizza party. They are going to order three pizzas. Each pizza is cut into eight slices. How many slices will they get?

Ask your child: How many pizzas are they ordering? How many slices does each pizza have?

Notes: You could host a pizza party with pizzas that have eight slices. Your child can then count the slices to check their answer.

Third Example

Erika’s mother has asked her to set the table. There are five people in the family, but her mother says to use two plates for each person. How many plates will be on the table?

Ask your child: How many people are in the family? How many plates will each person have?

Note: You can have your child set the table and change the numbers to reflect your family. If you’re only going to have one plate per person, include the cups or silverware.

Fourth Example

Jessica has ten green rubber bands, ten red rubber bands, and ten white rubber bands. How many rubber bands does she have in total?

Ask your child: How many rubber bands does she have in each color? How many different colors does she have?

Note: You don’t necessarily have to use rubber bands for this example. You can use colored beads again or even just draw a picture of the rubber bands using colored markers.

More Resources

If your child needs more help, you might want to consider a tutor or extra worksheets at home. You might even consider helping your  child complete a course in vedic math to increase their speed when solving math problems. If you just want extra worksheets to help your child work on, consider these sites listed below:

Many of these worksheets are downloadable so you can print them out for your child to work on. Some of the sites also include worksheets for addition, subtraction, and division. If your child needs a brush-up on those as well, these sites can be great resources for you. Do you have any other resources parents can use? Share in the comments below.