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7 Tips for Teaching 2nd Grade Measurement Word Problems

Updated: Apr 24

Instructional word problems are a key component of mathematics instruction in the elementary grades. Word problems provide an opportunity for students to apply mathematical skills and knowledge to solve real-world, practical word problems.


The following article offers teachers tips on how to teach word problems in second-grade classrooms.


Provide a Real-World Example


When introducing measurement word problems to students, it is important to provide a real-world example to help them understand the concept.

For instance, you could ask students to imagine that they are planning a party and need to figure out how many cups of punch they will need. Or how many gallons of water does a fish tank hold?


Building on previous knowledge

Explain to them that in order to solve the problem, they will need to use their knowledge of measurement.

  1. How many cups are in a gallon? 16 cups

  2. How many quarts are in a gallon? 4 quarts

  3. How many pints are in a quart? 4 pints

  4. How many inches in a foot? 12 inches

  5. How many feet in a yard? 3 feet

Make a List of Key Words

When teaching measurement word problems, it is important to make a list of key words that students can look for to help them solve the problem.


For example, when introducing length word problems, you could make a list of key words such as “long,” “short,” “tall,” “wide,” “narrow,” “measure,” “inches,” “feet,” “yards,” “centimeters,” “meters.”


When introducing capacity word problems, you could make a list of key words such as “full,” “empty,” “more,” “less,” “enough,” “gallons,” “quarts,” “pints,” “ounces,” “liters.”

When introducing weight word problems, you could make a list of key words such as “heavy,” “light,” “weigh,” “pounds,” “ounces,” “grams,” “kilograms.”


Model the Problem-Solving Process

When teaching measurement word problems, it is important to model the problem-solving process for students.


This will help them understand what they need to do in order to solve the problem.

For example, you could write a word problem on the board and then model how to solve it.

Use Word Problems from Textbooks

  1. There are many measurement word problems that can be found in textbooks.

  2. Teachers

How to read and Solve Measurement Word Problems

Next, provide a step-by-step explanation of how to read and solve measurement word problems.

For example, remind students that they need to identify the quantities being measured, determine the appropriate unit of measure, and then use mathematical operations to solve the problem.


When solving measurement word problems, it can be helpful to use the CUBES model.

CUBES stands for:

  • C ircle the key numbers and units

  • U nderline the question

  • B ox math action words

  • E evaluate and eliminate

  • S how may work and check

After explaining to the process, model how to solve a word problem using the CUBES model.



CUBES strategy interactive notebook printable


Leverage working in pairs

Then, have students work in pairs or small groups to solve addition word problems.

Once students understand the basics of solving measurement word problems, you can provide various activities and exercises to help them practice.


For instance, you could give them a worksheet with word problems to solve, or you could have them work in pairs to solve word problems together.


Make it a game

You could also create a game in which students have to solve word problems in order to earn points and points can be redeemed for small measurement related items like:


Assessing and quizzes

Gauge student understanding of measurement word problems through assessments and quizzes. For example, you could give an interactive quiz at the end of a lesson on measurement word problems where students use a station or a center activity to measure items from a basket or bin and complete a scenario worksheet, or you could include questions on a unit test.


You could also ask students to solve word problems as part of a class project.


Student Feedback

Provide feedback and reinforcement to help students improve their skills in solving measurement word problems.


For instance, you could give students specific feedback on their quiz or test results, or you could have a discussion about the strategies they used to solve word problems.

You could also offer positive reinforcement, such as praise or stickers, when students solve word problems correctly.


Additional practice

Encourage students to continue practicing their skills so they can achieve mastery in this topic.


At Home Connections

For example, you could provide extra worksheets for students to complete at home, or you could create a measurement word problem of the week that students can solve as part of a class competition.


Utilizing Technology

You could also suggest that students visit websites or online games that offer practice with measurement word problems.


By offering a variety of opportunities for practice, you can help ensure that your students master this important topic.


Common misconceptions when teaching measurement


It is important for students to understand measurement word problems because they will need to use this skill in other areas of mathematics, as well as in real-world situations.

However, there are some common misconceptions that students may have about measurement word problems.


Misconception 1: Students often think that they can solve measurement word problems by using their knowledge of fractions or decimals.

When solving measurement word problems, it is important for students to understand the concept of conversion.


That is, they need to be able to convert between different units of measurement.

For instance, they need to know that 1 quart is equal to 4 cups, or that 1 mile is equal to 5280 feet.


However, students often struggle with this concept because they think that they can just use their knowledge of fractions or decimals to solve the problem.


Misconception 2: Students often think that the answer to a measurement word problem is always a number.


When teaching students about measurement word problems, it is important to help them understand the different types of questions that can be asked.


For instance, a word problem might ask how many quarts are in 2 gallons, or how many miles are in 5 hours.


However, some measurement word problems will ask questions that do not have a numerical answer.


For instance, a word problem might ask how long it will take to drive from one city to another, or how much fabric is needed to make a certain number of dresses.


Misconception 3: Students often forget to use the appropriate unit of measure when solving measurement word problems.


One way to help students avoid making this mistake is to have them practice solving measurement word problems with different units of measure. You can also give them word problems that require them to convert between different units of measure.


Misconception 4: Students often think that they can solve a measurement word problem by estimation.


Key Take Away

When teaching measurement word problems, it is important to help students understand the different types of questions that can be asked. For instance, a word problem might ask how many quarts are in 2 gallons, or how many miles are driven in 5 hours. However, some measurement word problems will ask questions that do not have a numerical answer.

For instance, a word problem might ask how long it will take to drive from one city to another, or how much fabric is needed to make a certain number of dresses.


Be prepared to help students with these types of questions, as well as review the concept of conversion between different units of measurement.


By offering a variety of opportunities for practice, you can help ensure that your students master this important topic.


Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about teaching measurement word problems, there are a few resources that you might find helpful.

  • A blog post from WeAreTeachers offers some tips for teaching measurement word problems.

  • A video from Teach Me Math provides an overview of how to solve measurement word problems.

  • An article from Scholastic offers some ideas for helping students master the concept of conversion.

  • Finally, this printable from Education.com can be used as a review or practice activity for measurement word problems.

With a little bit of planning and effort, you can help your students master the skill of solving measurement word problems.


Don't forget to offer plenty of opportunities for practice, and be prepared to review the concept of conversion between different units of measurement.


By offering a variety of opportunities for practice, you can help ensure that your students master this important topic.


Special Education

If you are a teacher working with students who have special needs, bookmark our website for easy-to-find IEP goals and teaching resources.


For more information on how to differentiate instruction for students with special needs, check out our blog post on the topic.


FAQs

What is a measurement word problem?

A measurement word problem is a math problem that involves using measurements to solve a problem.

What are some tips for teaching measurement word problems?

What are some common misconceptions about measurement word problems?

I'm a special education teacher. Do you have any resources that might be helpful for me?




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