Instructional support reminds teachers that the Math Standards have specific focus areas at each grade level and that the best way to engage students is through problem solving in the context of the real world. The Math Modules have a strategy called Read-Draw-Write when solving word problems. Once the problem is read – either by the teacher or students, the key is to determine what the question is asking for. Listing the important information from the problem in a tape diagram is one way for students to visualize the mathematics involved in solving the problem. It’s not the only way, but it is a strategy that is effective for struggling learners. Many parents have never seen a tape diagram and that can be frustrating when they are trying to help their children with homework, so it is our job to help the parents as well. Once you get the hang of it, tape diagrams make a lot of sense.
A great reason for using tape diagrams is that they can be used by early elementary students when solving addition and subtraction word problems; 3rd through 5th graders can use them to help solve multiplication, division and fraction word problems; and 6th and 7th graders can use them to help solve ratio and percent word problems.
Here’s an example: Jill had the same amount of money as Karen. After Jill spent $34 and Karen spent $16, the ratio of Jill’s money to Karen’s 1:4. How much money did each girl have at first?
For more information on using tape diagrams, please contact Mary_Morris@caboces.org