*Contributor: Elephango Editors. Lesson ID: 10118*

Are you having problems figuring out word problems? Learn the steps to solve any word problem! Take the online quiz and complete the worksheet to show off your multi-step word problem skills!

categories

subject

Math

learning style

Visual

personality style

Lion, Beaver

Grade Level

Intermediate (3-5)

Lesson Type

Quick Query

Francis went to the bookstore with $42. The chapter book he needed to buy for school was $10. He then noticed all the puzzle books were on sale for $4 per book.

- How many puzzle books can Francis buy?

He brought you along because you're the only one smart enough to help him out!

Word problems with multiple steps can sometimes be confusing.

Take a moment to review the *Words and Mathematical Phrases Guide* found under **Downloadable Resources** in the right-hand sidebar. Knowing these words and phrases can help you determine which operations to use when solving the problem.

Read the problem at the beginning of the lesson. On a piece of paper, write down what you think the answer should be.

To help you solve multiple-step word problems, you can use the following five steps.

**Step 1**

- Determine what the question is asking for. What am I trying to find?

**Step 2**

- Determine the math operation(s) needed to find the answer (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).

**Step 3**

- Determine the information you need from the problem to find the answer.

**Step 4**

- Solve the problem and write your answer in a sentence.

**Step 5**

- Determine if your answer makes sense.

Now, use the five steps to figure out this problem.

Manuel and his brother collected 64 pieces of candy at a carnival. Each of them ate four pieces of candy. The next day, Manuel had 27 pieces left. How many pieces did Manuel's brother have left?

**Step 1**

- Figure out what the question is asking. (What am I trying to figure out?) Look at the last part of the word problem.

- How many pieces did Manuel's brother have left?

**Step 2**

- Figure out which operation(s) to use. Use your
*Words and Mathematical Phrases Guide*. See if any words or phrases from the last question in the word problem are on that guide.

The problem has the phrase, “ How many . . . left?”

Under *Subtraction* on the guide, you will see the word "left" and the phrase "How many are *left*?” This tells you to use subtraction in this problem.

Even though you will only use one operation, you still have multiple steps to perform to get your answer.

**Step 3**

- "At a carnival, Manuel and his brother collected 64 pieces of candy altogether. Each of them ate four pieces of candy. The next day, Manuel had 27 pieces left. How many pieces did Manuel's brother have left?"

The highlighted parts of the word problem have the information you need to determine the answer.

**Step 4**

- Solve the problem and write your answer in a sentence. You can solve the problem either through the use of pictures or tallies.

Here is how you would use a *picture* to help you solve the problem.

The picture above represents the 64 pieces of candy Manuel and his brother started with. The picture below represents the candy after Manuel and his brother ate 4 pieces.

The picture below represents Manuel's 27 pieces of candy from the original 64 pieces.

All you have to do is count how many pieces of candy DO NOT have a mark or circle on them. This will tell you how many pieces of candy Manuel's brother had left.

- Did you get 29?

Great job!

**Step 5**

- Determine if your answer makes sense. The best way to check for the correct answer is to use the opposite operation and work the problem backward.

In this problem you used *subtraction*. The opposite operation would be *addition.*

- Did you end up with the number from the original problem

Excellent!

Continue to the *Got It?* section to help Francis!