When done well, 3rd grade multiplication word problems present an opportunity for teachers and parents to help kids improve their critical thinking skills. These problems require a significant amount of thought in order to decide which operation to use, figure out the answer, and then determine whether or not the answer makes sense. Here are some strategies to help children practice the problem-solving process. They work well to fine-tune those critical thinking skills and help with 3rd grade multiplication word problems.
Read the Problem to Find Meaningful Information
In order to solve 3rd grade multiplication word problems, students must learn in order to read the problem to locate critical information. The critical information includes the question asked, the clue word or words that indicate which operation to use and the numbers that will be used to find that information. They might underline clue words and circle the question or highlight the numbers to help with this process.
3rd grade is an excellent time to introduce this process, or to fine-tune it if it has been introduced earlier. Most third-graders have strong enough reading skills to be able to decode the words and start looking a little deeper into their meaning. As a result, they are better able to focus on honing their critical thinking skills.
Asking questions is one of the key components of critical thinking. After reading a word problem students need to ask themselves several questions, including:
- What am I trying to find?
- Will the answer be larger or smaller than the numbers given?
- What operation would work best to find this answer?
- What is my estimated answer?
- Does my estimated answer make sense?
These critical thinking processes will help them arrive at the right answer with less struggle.
Visualizing the Problem
Many 3rd grade multiplication word problems work with numbers too large to draw a picture. Students must therefore solve the problem mentally, yet visualizing the process is still an important critical thinking skill. Teach children to draw mental pictures to visualize the word problems they are solving.
As you can see, 3rd grade multiplication word problems are an excellent way to begin developing those critical thinking skills. If you want to work on these skills at home, but lack the time or knowledge to sit down and work through word problems with your child, Thinkster Math can help. Thinkster’s innovative tablet-based math learning program will help your child focus on those critical thinking skills, then give them the tools they need to solve math word problems accurately with the help of knowledgeable math teachers. It’s fun to play and also rewards children for their hard work, so your child will be motivated to learn.