- Middle school
- High school
Here's my take on a way to help students solve story problems. It's called DPPC (direct, pure, piecemeal, complete). It involves students understanding that math is a language in itself. And like other languages, math lends itself quite easily to translation from the English sentences of story problems into math statements. Here are two examples:
Albert's salary of $30 per hour was increased by $9. (A = 30 + 9)
John is 6 years older than Frank. (J = F + 6)
Note how easily a math statement can be written from the original sentence. The student sees that this translation method yields them an equation! The equation contains an equal sign and an operation. There's no need to dream up a method for solving it.
Most of my middle-school students became quite good problem-solvers using this technique. -- Middle-School Math Teacher
DPPC is used effectively in many classrooms. It can help students see how math is a language. As many of our readers will recognize, this is how they were introduced to basic algebra and is a good way to introduce algebraic symbolism at the middle-school level or upper elementary grades. Nevertheless, some students will have difficulty with the abstraction.