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Hands-On Equations®

Powerful Whole Brain Learning

Demystifying Verbal Problems with Hands-On Equations

A full-day workshop for teachers of  grades 5 – 9

A five-step process to represent and solve verbal problems.

Many students and adults are frightened when they see word problems. The words seem so abstract. They do not know how to visualize the problem or where to begin. Yet, when students work with the unknown in a less abstract format, they can make significant progress.

In this workshop we present a five-step approach enabling students to represent and solve “advanced” verbal problems by means of the concrete and pictorial approach of Hands-On Equations, including consecutive integer, age and distance problems.

Note: Prior experience with Hands-On Equations is helpful, but not essential, for participation in this workshop. 

Building a Solid Foundation for Success in Algebra!

You will be delighted to use Hands-On Equations to represent and solve verbal problems such as the following:

  • Four times a number, increased by 2, is the same as three times the number, increased by 9. Find the number.
  • Sarah played the piano three days in a row. Each day she played twice as long as the previous day. If she played 24 minutes on the last day, how many minutes did she play on the first day? 
  • Find three consecutive numbers such that triple the last number gives the same result as twice the sum of the first two numbers.
  • Santos is 3 years older than one-third Wanda’s age. In 4 years, Wanda will be twice the age that Santos will be then. How old is each now?
  • Two wagons leave the same location and travel in opposite directions. One wagon goes 6 miles per hour faster than the other. The slower wagon leaves at noon, while the faster one leaves at 2:00 pm. If at 4:00 pm the wagons are 36 miles apart, how fast does each wagon travel? (PICTORIAL)
  • The sum of two numbers is 10. Twice the first number, increased by the second, is 18. Find the numbers.

Common Core Math Standards:  

This workshop will enable you to assist your students in meeting common core standards related to algebraic thinking, modeling with mathematics, and solving word problems algebraically. 

Recommended for: 

The Demystifying Verbal Problems workshop is recommended for teachers of mathematics of grades 5 – 8, teachers of the gifted grades 2 and up and teachers of older students struggling with word problems. 

To bring this full-day workshop to your district:

Please send an email to, complete a quick form or call 800-993-6284. Please specify three alternative dates that will work for you. 

“Awesome workshop. I learned how to teach age and distance problems in a way my students can understand!!”
– Workshop participant