Sixth grade students will encounter multiple-step problems. Though, sixth graders do have the skills to solve the individual computations in the problem, they often find such problems challenging. This is why it will be crucial that your child follow all 4 phases of the problem solving process. Make sure that your child understands that in doing this, phase two will always have more than one step or operation. Multiple-step problems require students to solve the sub-problems within a problem, before answering the original problem. In solving these sub-problems, or the problems within the problem, your child may use the same operations or a variety of different operations. Hence, you and your child may want to come up with a system of color coding to help see all the different problems that need to be solved. Below, you will find a word problem and one possibility of how to color-code/underline to show all the parts of the problem that need to be addressed.
Sample Problem: Rob had 16 red marbles. He split them evenly with his brother. Then Rob bought 30 blue marbles. He gave away 1/3 of them. How many marbles does Rob have left?
Color-coding: Green-solve 1st, Blue-solve 2nd, Red-solve last
Rob had 16 red marbles. He split them evenly with his brother. Then Rob bought 30 blue marbles. He gave away 1/3 of them. How many marbles does Rob have left?
16 split evenly is 16 divided by 2 = 8 red left
30 gave away 1/3 to find this: 30 divided by 1/3= 10, now subtract the 10 from the original amount 30 – 10 = 20 blue left.
20 blue + 8 red = 28 marbles.
After solving the problem, don’t forget to go on the phase 3, check it!