Conquer Word Problems with the CUBES Math Strategy

Feeling lost in the world of word problems? The CUBES strategy can be your secret weapon! This blog post explores this effective method, empowering you to break down and solve word problems with confidence.

Beyond Confusion: Unveiling the Power of Word Problem Strategies

Word problems can be daunting for many students. The CUBES strategy offers a step-by-step approach to break down these problems into manageable steps, leading to clear solutions.

Acronym: Decoding the Steps of CUBES

CUBES stands for Circle the Numbers, Underline the Question, Box the Math Action Words, Evaluate What to Do, and Solve and Check. Let’s explore each step in detail.

Circling the Numbers: Identifying Key Information

The first step involves circling all the numbers and any numerical information mentioned in the word problem. This helps you identify the data you need to solve the problem.

Question: Focusing on What’s Needed

Underline the question in the word problem. This ensures you stay focused on what you need to find and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.

Boxing the Action Words: Identifying Mathematical Operations

Math action words like “add,” “subtract,” “multiply,” “divide,” or phrases like “find the total” or “calculate the difference” should be boxed. These words indicate the mathematical operations you need to perform.

Evaluating What to Do: Choosing the Right Operation

Based on the circled numbers and boxed action words, analyze what mathematical operations are required to solve the problem. Do you need to add, subtract, multiply, or divide?

Solving and Checking: Finding the Answer and Verifying Your Work

Now that you understand the problem and the operations needed, solve the word problem using the identified mathematical operations. Don’t forget to check your answer by re-reading the problem and ensuring your solution makes sense in the context.

Practice Makes Perfect: Utilizing the CUBES Strategy on Different Problems

The more you practice using the CUBES strategy, the more comfortable you’ll become with solving word problems. Apply the CUBES method to various word problems to solidify your understanding.

Beyond Word Problems: Expanding the Usefulness of CUBES

The CUBES strategy can be valuable beyond traditional word problems. It can be applied to interpreting charts and graphs, analyzing data tables, and even approaching open-ended math questions.

Benefits of CUBES: Promoting Independent Learning and Problem-Solving

The CUBES strategy empowers students to become independent learners. It equips them with a structured approach to tackle word problems, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Collaboration and Explanation: Discussing CUBES with Peers and Teachers

While CUBES promotes independent learning, working with peers and teachers can be beneficial. Discuss your thought process as you apply CUBES, explain your reasoning, and learn from different approaches.

Adapting CUBES: Tailoring the Strategy to Your Learning Style

The beauty of CUBES lies in its flexibility. Students can personalize the approach by using different symbols or highlighting instead of circling or boxing. Find what works best for you!

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The CUBES strategy equips you with a powerful tool to conquer word problems and approach math with confidence. By following the clear steps, identifying key information, and utilizing the appropriate operations, you can break down complex problems into manageable steps. So, embrace the CUBES strategy, practice regularly, and watch your problem-solving skills flourish!


  • Is the CUBES strategy suitable for all ages? The CUBES strategy can be adapted for different age groups. While younger students might use simpler terms or symbols, the core principles remain the same.
  • Can I use the CUBES strategy for math problems that don’t involve word problems? Yes! The CUBES strategy can be helpful for analyzing data, interpreting charts, and approaching open-ended math questions.
  • What if I get stuck on a step in the CUBES strategy? Don’t hesitate to ask for help! Discuss the problem with a teacher, peer, or tutor. They can guide you through the steps and help you understand the concepts involved.
  • Are there any online resources that utilize the CUBES strategy? Many websites and educational apps incorporate the CUBES strategy into their teaching methods. Explore different resources to find what works best for you.
  • How can I become more confident in solving word problems? Consistent practice using the CUBES strategy is key. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with breaking down and solving word problems.

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