A Word to Math Teachers About Word Problems
“My Year Six daughter finds maths really hard and especially panics when attempting word problems .... . She is dyslexic and gets extra support with reading and writing but not maths.”
dyslexia or not, solving word problems requires a very specific strategy, very much different from the one needed to solve arithmetic or algebra problems even when those are used.
Simply saying, solving math problems and solving problems using math are two different practices requiring two different strategic/logical approaches.
That strategy for solving word problems closely follows the one used for solving a physics problem.
The reason kids have difficulties with solving word problems is that math teachers simply do not know that strategy, because no one teaches math teachers physics strategies.
I would recommend to start from reading theses short posts:
A General “Algorithm” for Creating a Solution to a Physics Problem
Modeling Instructions, Design Thinking, and Productive Thinking for a Science Teacher
Deliberate Thinking v. Digging a Trench
Graphical Approach for Structuring Physics Knowledge
What does “Thinking as a Physicist” mean? Really.
The Essence of the Meaning of “Zone of Proximal Development”
Teaching Tools for Fostering Understanding of Physics
What Math Skills do Students Taking Physics Need to Have?
How I flipped my class without even knowing it.