Help Your Students Solve Word Problems

Students using Polya Graphic Organizer to Solve Word Problems

Why Do Students Struggle with Word Problems?

Many of our students struggle to solve word problems, and we don’t always understand why.

There are usually a few contributing factors. Students need to understand the underlying math concepts, have a strategy for approaching problems, and have a process to apply that strategy.

Graphic Organizers Support Sequential Thinking

A graphic organizer can be a quick and easy solution to help students develop a process for problem-solving.

This organizer is based on George Polya’s 4-Step problem solving process. Polya was a Hungarian mathematician who discovered that any mathematical problem could be solved in 4-steps: Understand, Plan, Solve, and Reflect.

With this organizer, your students can better organize their thinking, and apply Polya’s process to solve challenging multi-step word problems.

Three Bridges Design for Learning balances differentiation with content coverage

This guide aligns with Bridge 3 of our 3-Bridges Design for Learning

Personalized learning has direct benefits for students but also supports growth within the other two bridges.


Content Coverage

A unique approach to traditional schooling using high-impact instructional strategies that allow the teacher to be more efficient.

Personalized Learning

Students progress toward grade-level standards at their own pace. Teachers reduce grading time and shift into the role of “guide by the side.”

Inquiry-Based Learning

By learning through exploration, each student gains something unique. IBL supports content mastery, problem solving, and social-emotional learning.


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