Math Journal Sundays - Clue Words for Problem-Solving

31 October 2015
I've got another problem-solving journal entry to share today.  This Math Journal Sunday continues with our CUBES problem-solving entry from two weeks ago.  I've noticed that not all of my students are using the CUBES strategy each time they encounter a word problem, so I wanted to keep the strategy fresh in their minds.  This time we were examining clue words in word problems to help students determine which operation(s) to use - the "B" in CUBES - box out the clue words in the problem.

For the right side of the page, we used 4 magnifying glasses (for the CLUE words).  We wrote the four operations on the outside and clue words for each operation under the flaps.  Quick and easy.

For the left side of the page thinking, instead of the traditional left side of the page we do, we did another word problem to practice using the strategy (just like we did when we first did the CUBES entry).  We are just finishing up our patterning unit, so I chose a problem we could use patterning strategies (like a T-table) to answer.  We went through the problem as a whole group with students leading the conversation as to how to analyze the problem with the steps from CUBES (and color code the steps) and how to solve the problem.

Edit:  I've had many requests to turn this into a resource, so I've made one which you can see here.  Click HERE or on the picture to the right to preview it on TpT.  


  1. What a great idea! My sons always had difficulty with word problems. I wish someone had shown them this!

  2. I adapted the T table and drew one extra vertical line in the middle to make room for the operation. Makes writing an algebraic equation for the problem easier as well.

  3. I also add words like "each", "per", "every" to my word charts to signal multiplication or division problems. "And" is a good one for addition but is often overlooked.