PowerPoint describing a basic framework for solving word problems used in Physics and math.
This PowerPoint describes basic problem solving strategy for successfully completing new word problems. The structure given to problem solving with this method dramatically increases the success rate for students who otherwise struggle through Physics and Math.
I have been using this method for most of my teaching career. One of the greatest compliments I receive year after year is "I have never understood Math before taking physics." Many math classes and teachers assume word problem methods are obvious to students. My experience is that students do not understand how to place what they are reading into the language of Mathematics nor organize the information on their page to successfully complete word problems.
Math is the language of science. Many students struggle with putting the written word problem into the language of mathematics. They even laugh at me in the first week of school when I say that math is a language. Most students quickly change their minds and learn to translate from English to math while solving real world problems.
Organization and recognition of elements in word problems are some of the most problematic issues teaching physics and math. This is a method I have had great success with over the years and applies through the complete course in Physics.
As problems in Physics get more complex, this strategy becomes an essential skill for success in the class. All properly completed parts of the process in my class go into credit on test and homework problems. Students cannot get full credit without going through the process. This forces them to practice on the easier problems in the beginning of the year so they master the strategy by the time more complex problems appear in the curriculum.