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Word Problems from Literature: An Introduction to Bar Model Diagrams (Playful Math Singles) Kindle Edition
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The chapters build up from simple arithmetic to more complex rate, percentage and fraction problems. Each problem is laid out and then carefully and clearly converted to bar diagrams. Even as someone who has always enjoyed algebra, I found this method really clarified for me what was going on visually and conceptually. Particularly when it came to more complex questions, for which I would normally write out an equation, I felt that thinking about what was going on with the bars actually made more sense. For children who are yet to master algebra, this would be a perfect stepping stone between understanding a mathematical relationship concretely and the pure abstraction of x and y.
Writing story problems using familiar characters from books can feel a bit contrived. But it definitely made them more engaging to read, and the last chapter also provides a thorough grounding in how to translate problems into stories from the fictional setting of your choice, a great way to adapt the technique to any child's interest.
This is a wonderful book for those who want to support their children in finding better ways to work on word problems and really understand what is going on, as opposed to learning short cuts to translate them into 'mathese' which can backfire. It doesn't include long lists of questions (although I understand there is a student workbook available) so if you want to make up your own story problems you'll need access to some. I now feel fully equipped to show my children how to use the bar diagrams to solve a wide range of mathematical conundrums!