Mention “word problems” to most adults and you can hear the groans. They don’t have great memories from their school days about learning this essential, but difficult skill. But – your students don’t have to have the same memories as their parents. If you teach them how to solve the word problem in a way that makes sense – they might even look forward to it especially with these Valentine’s Day Multiplication and Division word problems!
Multiplication and Division Requirements
In 3rd grade our students are tasked with learning multiplication and division that includes these four areas:
- Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
- Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division.
- Multiply and divide within 100.
- Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.
It’s a pretty heavy load which is why I like to give my students a framework that they can use in many math problem-solving situations.
How to Solve Word Problems with R.U.P.S.E.
Finding a way to teach my 3rd graders how to solve word problems led to the invention of the acronym R.U.P.S.E.
In my experience, students struggle with word problems because they:
- Don’t read the problem carefully.
- Can’t differentiate what is important information and what is not.
- Don’t know what the problem is asking them to do.
The R.U.P.S.E. framework helps them methodically go through the steps, so they don’t skip any of these issues.
This is what R.U.P.S.E. stands for:
- R – Read
- U – Underline
- P – Plan
- S- Solve
- E – Explain
One of the most important aspects of R.U.P.S.E. is teacher modeling. Show your students how to go through the steps and then set an expectation that they will do it with all word problems.
My students used it daily with a warm-up problem at the beginning of the math block. The consistent practice made a huge difference in their ability to solve word problems but also in their attitude toward them. They no longer groaned or worried about word problems!
Solving Multiplication and Division Word Problems with R.U.P.S.E.
Once you have established the R.U.P.S.E. steps with your students – they need to practice. They can use the steps with any type of word problem – including error analysis like the example below. If your students are using task cards, they cannot underline the important keywords and the question, so I teach students to jot down those important notes.
Here is an example of a multiplication problem using R.U.P.S.E.:
One of the many benefits of using R.U.P.S.E. is that students must show ALL of their work. This helps you find the misconceptions or errors quickly and easily!
Here is a division word problem using R.U.P.S.E:
More about solving division problems using R.U.P.S.E. in this post – 3 Ways to Use Division Word Problems in Your Classroom.
Valentine’s Day Math Centers
Can you imagine a better math center than Valentine’s Day themed word problems for that crazy week around Valentine’s Day?
They are ready to use everything you have already taught them about multiplication and division and apply it to problem solving using the R.U.P.S.E framework!
This set of Valentine’s Day Multiplication and Division Word Problems Task Cards is perfect for this task!
Take this rigorous math activity up a notch by adding fun Valentine’s Day erasers or conversation hearts to use as manipulatives! Your students will love it!
Using R.U.P.S.E. in Your Classroom
One of the biggest benefits I have found using the R.U.P.S.E. framework is how your students writing about math improves! As it improves, so does their ability to solve word problems! You will love it – I promise.