Introduction to CUBES, a Word Problem Strategy
MATH WORD PROBLEMS
Students everywhere struggle with math word problems. I, a math teacher and tutor, sometimes struggle with word problems. Why? Because it requires a deep level of comprehension. Instead of mathematical symbols, there are words or phrases that require interpretation. I have found that using CUBES significantly helps my students.
CUBES WORD PROBLEM STRATEGY
What is CUBES? It is a strategy that helps students break down word problems by creating 5 steps and making an acronym out of the word CUBES.
C STANDS FOR CIRCLE
Circle numbers and their units. Teachers frequently don’t require students to write down the corresponding units. I’ve been guilty of this. But units are an important detail in math. I firmly believe in Attending to Accuracy. Many educators inaccurately refer to this as Attending to Precision, but there’s a subtle yet signifcant difference in accuracy and precision.
U STANDS FOR UNDERLINE
Underline the Question. This should be the simplest step, because word problems usually ask for the solution via a question at the end of the world problem.
B STANDS FOR BOX IN
Box in Math Action Words such as “altogether”, “total”, or “take away”.
E STANDS FOR ELIMINATE AND EVALUATE
Word Problems are notorious for having useless (from a math perspective) information. Details such as locations, colors, and names are OFTEN, but not always, irrelevent.
Evaluate the information you have gathered, and create your equation(s).
S STANDS FOR SOLVE
Solve the problem, and check your answer.
Please watch our YouTube video covering this information. Our Channel, Mr and Mrs Math, contains several videos on CUBES as well as other math concepts.