Teaching Basic Math Skills: Basic Math Problems for Elementary Students

Basic math skills are those your child will need throughout life, such as the skills to make and follow a budget or balance a checkbook. Read on for information about the skills taught in elementary school and useful word problems for teaching them.

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How Can I Help My Child Learn Basic Math Skills?

Learn about Elementary-Level Math Skills

The most basic math skills that students learn in elementary school are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. However, decimals, percents and fractions are also useful for everyday life. All of these skills are included in elementary school curriculums. It's important for you to review these skills with your child and make sure that she understands them. You may also find it useful to show her how she can use these skills outside the classroom.

Use Basic Word Problems to Practice Important Skills

Basic math problems usually have one or two steps and involve a direct application of a math concept. The teacher assigns basic math problems so your child can practice completing each step. In real life, your child will regularly encounter situations that are more complex and involve a number of steps to solve. Below are some basic word problems that cover important math skills.


Cory's scout troop raised money by selling packages of kettle corn in front of several super markets. Cory sold 16 packages. At the end of the day, he had 12 packages left. How many packages did Cory begin with?

Solution: 16 + 12 = 28 packages

Subtraction and Decimals

For Christmas, you were given a Walmart gift card for $50.00. You found some great sales and bought a top for $5.99, pants for $7.98 and two pairs of socks for $4.25. You also bought a book that was not on sale for $10.00. How much money did you have left on your gift card?

Solution: $50.00 - $5.99 - $7.98 - $4.25 - $10.00 = $21.78 left on the gift card


Your parents ordered six pizzas for your birthday party. Each pizza was cut into eight slices. How many slices were there in all?

Solution: 6 x 8 = 48


Mom reduced the '0 x 0 through 10 x 10' multiplication table to 18 rules and facts. She gave you six days to learn these rules and facts. How many do you need to learn each day in order to learn them in six days?

Solution: 18 ÷ 6 = 3 facts


Chris bought a package that contained 15 pieces of fruit-flavored candy. Two were strawberry-flavored, six tasted like lemon, two were lime and five were grape. What fraction of the candies were lemon-flavored?

Solution: Six out of 15 were lemon flavored, so the fraction is 6/15.


Dad bought a package of 50 screws. Four of them had defective tips. What percent were defective?

Solution: Four out of 50 were defective, or 4/50. 50 ÷ 4 = 12.5 or 12.5%

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