Measurement: Lesson 5 - Solving GED® Word Problems

Solving GED^{®} Word Problems is the fifth of five self-paced lessons in the “Measurement” section. This lesson introduces the problem-solving process as a systematic approach to understanding and solving GED problems. The examples in this lesson include practice in selecting only the information necessary to answer a specific question and in determining whether adequate information has been provided to find a solution. KET’s GED® Geometry Professional Development Online Course is designed to help you review and build your skills and knowledge of geometry concepts and to help you to gain confidence in preparing your learners for a substantial portion of the GED® Mathematics Test. Click on the graphic to begin Lesson 5.

NOTE: This course was created based on the 2002 GED^{®} math test. The geometry instruction in this course is still valid, however, for up-to-date information about the 2014 GED^{®} math test, please visit KET’s GED^{®} Test Info: Mathematics online course.

Many of the problems on the GED^{®} Mathematics Test are word problems.

Part of students’ difficulty with word problems is that they mentally “freeze up” when they see these types of problems. Providing students with a 5-step problem-solving process will help them to interpret problems and develop solutions.

Students’ other challenges with GED word problems are that 1) some may contain more information than is needed to answer the question or 2) others may not have sufficient information to find a solution.

This lesson introduces the problem-solving process as a systematic approach to understanding and solving GED problems. As a part of this process, students learn to select only the information they need to answer a specific question and also to determine whether adequate information has been provided to find a solution.

Note: Tell students that some GED Test questions include the answer choice (5) Not enough information is given. In some cases, it is the correct answer.

25-Step Problem-Solving Process

Watch the video for an introduction to the problem-solving process before working the problem.

Understanding the Question

Video: 1m 04s

It is helpful to follow a series of steps to understand and solve any word problem. The 5-step problem-solving process provides a logical way to approach word problems. This process is outlined in the chart below.

Question Leo is driving 76 miles from Lexington to Louisville, using Route 64. Along the way, he stops for lunch in Frankfort.

If the distance from Lexington to Frankfort is 29 miles, how many miles does Leo have left to drive after lunch?

Step 1 Understand the question.

The question asks how many miles Leo has left to drive.

Step 2 Find the facts you need to answer the question.

To find how many miles are left to drive, you need the number of miles for the entire trip (76) and the number of miles Leo has already driven (29).

Step 3 Choose the correct operation(s).

To find the amount of miles left to drive, you would subtract. 76 miles total – 29 miles driven = miles left to drive

Step 4 Solve the problem.

76 – 29 = 47

Step 5 Check to make sure your answer makes sense.

Round up the numbers 76 and 29, and estimate your answer. Leo is driving about 80 miles. He has driven about 30 miles so far. Subtract to find your estimate.

80 – 30 = 50. The answer, 47 miles, makes sense.

Answer 47 miles

3Too Much or Not Enough Information

Some word problems contain more information than is needed to solve the problem. Find the numbers you need to answer the question, and ignore the numbers you do not need.

Sometimes the information you need to solve the problem is missing. If you cannot find the information by re-reading the problem, using an accompanying diagram or table, or performing a calculation, you can choose (5) Not enough information is given.

Question Marcia’s dog, Gracie, weighs 22.5 pounds more than Carl’s dog, Viva. Viva weighs 4.5 pounds more than Pat’s dog, Rascal. How much does Gracie weigh?

Step 1 Understand the question.

The question asks how much Gracie weighs.

Step 2 Find the facts you need to answer the question.

If you know Viva’s weight, you can use the fact that Gracie weighs 22.5 pounds more than Viva.

Step 3 Choose the correct operation(s).

You could add 22.5 pounds to Viva’s weight, but Viva’s weight is not given. You cannot determine Viva’s weight unless you know Rascal’s weight. Rascal’s weight is not given.

Answer Not enough information is given for you to determine Gracie’s weight.

4 Sample GED Questions

Directions: There are two questions on this page. Each will appear in the blue rectangle below. Click on Question 1 to see the first question, and then select your answer. Click on Question 2 to see the second question, and select your answer. As you solve these problems, consider how you would work through them with your students.

Questions 1 and 2 are based on the following information.

Suki worked in the garden 4 days last week. She worked on Sunday, then 3 hours on Monday, 2 hours 30 minutes on Tuesday, and 1 hour 20 minutes on Friday.

How could you help students determine the information needed to solve word problems?

In this lesson you have learned about solving GED word problems. This review consists of key terms and concepts with which you will need to be familiar. Click the view button on the left to access a review sheet.

Below you will also see a Classroom Connection with suggestions for linking this content with your instruction.

Assign directly to your students using the code or link above, without having them log in. Simply tell your students to go to
www.pbsstudents.org and enter the Assignment Code, or click on the Assignment URL to share the assignment as a link.