Using simple bar models, often referred to as the “Singapore method”, to represent the mathematical relationships in comparison word problems helps students organize their thinking to more easily make sense of the problems and generate equations. Drawing bar models provides students with a strategy for visualizing abstract word problems in a more concrete way.

The videos below demonstrates how the bar model can be used to help make sense of multiplicative comparison problems. The tutorials use the “Thinking Blocks” virtual tool which can be found at http://www.mathplayground.com/thinkingblocks.html. This website has a variety of tutorials on modeling different types of comparison word problems, including those with two-steps. This tool not only has the benefits of supporting students with visualizing word problems, but it also provides them opportunities to manipulate models on the computer.

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