# Your Plan of Attack for Math Word Problems

Sep 13, 2022Raise your hand if you can remember working your way through the math computational problems on a worksheet and feeling good about the work you had done so far and then BAM…there it was...at the end of the worksheet, a word problem (cue the instrumental score from JAWS). You pumped yourself up with positive vibes and read the problem, but after reading it, all you could do was sit in silence utterly confused and having no idea what to do next. Enter in, Word Problem Attack Strategies.

**What is a Word Problem Attack Strategy?**

A word problem attack strategy is a series of steps that students follow to help them stay on track and confidently solve a word problem. Most attack strategies are a 3-5 letter word that is easy to remember and spell in which each letter of the word stands for a step that students complete in sequential order.

There are several effective attack strategies that students can follow when solving word problems that will guide them through a series of steps to help them arrive at a correct answer. However, word problem attack strategies that direct students to search for and mark keywords should be avoided. Finding math keywords in a word problem and associating them with what mathematical operation to use to solve the problem is somewhat effective in the early elementary years of mathematics but becomes extremely unreliable in the upper elementary grades and into middle school.

**The RUN Attack Strategy**

At Ignite Learning Company our favorite attack strategy is the RUN attack strategy. The RUN attack strategy provides simple, actionable steps through an acronym that is both easy to remember and spell: RUN.

**R** - Read and understand

**U **- Underline and cross out

**N** - Name the problem type

This attack strategy works great with the evidence-based teaching method of solving math word problems by identifying its schema, or type. Most word problems that students encounter in math during the elementary years can be categorized into 6 different schemas based on the structure of the word problem (The IRIS Center, 2017).

Grab your free Ultimate Guide to Solving Math Word Problems, which includes a printable RUN attack strategy poster along with ALL the details on the 6 types of math word problems. The guide also includes instructions on how to use the RUN strategy, plus an example problem broken down step-by-step so you can see exactly how it works.

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