Fifth Grade Math Word Problems

In fifth grade, a good deal of the math curricula is dedicated to fractions, percentages and decimals. Because these concepts are often applied to real life - for example, when leaving a tip at a restaurant or doubling ingredients for a recipe - it can be beneficial for your child to explore them through word problems, as well as numerical equations. You can help your student at home by writing your own word problems for extra practice.

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How Can I Create My Own Fifth Grade Math Word Problems?

Word problems can show students the connection between the concepts they're learning in math class and the application of those concepts in everyday life. They also can help your fifth grader develop critical thinking strategies that will last a lifetime.

To create word problems that are both fun and effective, try making them about topics your child enjoys. For instance, if your son or daughter is a fan of baseball, you could develop practice problems about statistics or stadium sizes. Money and baking are other topics that include math and might catch your child's interest.

Also, when creating word problems at home, be sure to incorporate keywords that can help your child determine which mathematical operation he or she should use. For instance, the words 'of' and 'times' indicate that your child should use multiplication, while 'per' and 'out of' suggest that a problem can be solved by dividing. 'Altogether,' 'sum' and 'total' might be used for addition word problems, while 'difference' and 'less than' refer to subtraction.

Sample Word Problems by Topic


If Eve hits 4 of the 7 pitches thrown to her, what is her batting percentage?

Your child should divide 4 by 7, which rounds to 0.571, which is how batting percentages are reported in the majors. You could have your child continue this problem by multiplying 0.571 x 100, thus determining that Eve hits the ball about 57.1% of the time.


For his party, Jerry bought 4 cupcakes for $3.22 each. He also bought a cake for $15.12. The sales tax on his purchases was 5%. How much money did Jerry spend?

This problem involves several steps. First, your child should determine the cost of the cupcakes by multiplying 4 x $3.22. The answer - $12.88 - should be added to the cost of the cake - $15.12 - for a total of $28. Next, your child should determine the sales tax by multiplying $28 x 0.05, which equals $1.40. Finally, he or she should add the cost of the cake and cupcakes with the cost of the sales tax: $28 + $1.40 = $29.40. Jerry spent $29.40 total.


Meg's pancake recipe calls for 1/2 cup of white sugar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. How much sugar will she use altogether?

This problem requires that your child add fractions. First, he or she must convert 1/2 to 2/4 so that the numbers being added have the same denominator. Then, your child can add: 2/4 + 3/4 = 5/4, or 1 1/4. Meg used 1 1/4 cups of sugar.
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