Word problems are described as "verbal descriptions of problem situations wherein one or more questions are raised the answer to which can be obtained by the application of mathematical operations to numerical data available in the problem statement" (Verschaffel, Greer, & De Corte, 2000).
Solving word problems involves: Solving word problems is not considered to be the same as mathematical modeling.
Brian Bushart, an elementary teacher and mathematics curriculum coordinator from Texas, popularized the idea of "numberless word problems" after a colleague tried the approach with some third-grade students. Teachers’ and researchers’ beliefs about the development of algebraic reasoning.
Numberless word problems aren’t entirely new, as the book (Gillan, 1909) presented something vaguely similar in the early 20th century. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 31(2), 168–190.
Word problems are not just for applications of already-known mathematics. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
In fact, the most powerful way to use word problems in the classroom is as a means to help students learn math. Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense making in mathematics.
219) and reduce the problem to the numbers and keywords or phrases that indicate operations or relations.
This dismissal of the real-world aspects of word problems can contribute to students' suspension of sense-making and their compulsion to calculate.
Their research and subsequent studies have shown that the vast majority of students – sometimes more than 90 percent – will calculate and produce answers for the even-numbered items just as they do for the odd-numbered items, without any additional reasoning about real-world considerations. On mathematics as sense-making: An informal attack on the unfortunate divorce of formal and informal mathematics.
Giving students a general warning, such as "these problems are not as easy as they look," did not significantly help students.