Some word problems can and should be done in students' heads. However, in order for students to fully understand what they are doing and why, they should use the following steps to solve math word problems.
1. Read the problem at least twice for full comprehension.
2. Highlight or underline the important information.
3. What is being asked of you? What do you want to know? (This is the questions that is usually at the end of the word problem.)
4. What operation needs to be performed? Look for key words. (sum, difference, total, etc.)
5. What steps do you need to take in order to solve the problem? List them.