5th Grade Word Problems: Homework Help

The word problems you'll encounter in 5th grade will typically involve adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing fractions and mixed numbers. Read on for some sample problems and explanations that can help you with your homework.

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Word Problems for 5th Graders

Adding and Subtracting

One type of word problem you'll need to be able to solve in 5th grade involves adding or subtracting fractions. You probably already know how to perform these operations on fractions with like denominators, so we'll include an example with fractions that have different denominators.

Emily made 1/3 of the cupcakes for her birthday party, and her sister made 1/6 of them. Their mother made the rest of the cupcakes. What fraction of the cupcakes did Emily and her sister make altogether?

To solve this problem, you'll need to add together the two fractions (1/3 and 1/6). Since they have different denominators, you'll need to find a common one before you can add them. Since three is half of six, you can multiply the numerator and denominator of 1/3 by two to get 2/6, which has the same denominator as 1/6.

Now, you can add 1/6 and 2/6 together to get 3/6 (1/6 + 2/6 = 3/6). Since both three and six are divisible by three, you can divide the fraction's numerator and denominator by this number to get the simplified answer of 1/2. So, Emily and her sister made 1/2 of the total number of cupcakes.


You'll also encounter word problems where you'll need to multiply a fraction or whole number by a mixed number. To solve these problems, you'll convert the mixed number into an improper fraction and then multiply. Here's a sample problem:

Each member of a relay team ran 1 1/4 laps around the track. How many total laps did all four members of the team run?

To change the mixed number, 1 1/4, into an improper fraction, multiply the denominator by the integer to get four (4 x 1 = 4). Next, add that result to the numerator to get five (4 + 1 = 5). You'll place this last answer over the original denominator of the mixed number to get the improper fraction (5/4).

Now, you also need to put the number of team members (four) into fractional form so you can multiply it by 5/4. Since 4 = 4/1, you can multiply to get your final answer and then simplify it: 5/4 x 4/1 = 20/4 = 5. The answer is that the four team members ran a total of five laps.


Another 5th grade math skill involves dividing fractions by whole numbers and vice versa. Here's an example:

Tim is making a batch of cookies, and the whole recipe contains 3/4 cup of sugar. If the recipe makes 12 cookies, how much sugar is in each cookie?

To begin, you should turn 12 into a fraction by putting it over one (12/1). Then you'll divide 3/4 by this, but keep in mind that to divide by a fraction, you actually multiply by its reciprocal. The reciprocal of 12/1 is 1/12, so you'll need to solve 4/3 x 1/12. This equals 4/36, which can be simplified to 1/9 by dividing the numerator and denominator by four. So, the answer is that there's 1/9 cup of sugar in each cookie.

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