Story Problems for Kids: Example Questions and Answers

Throughout the elementary grades, your child will be expected to perform base ten operations within story problems. Review the story problems below, and choose the ones that will help your child work on his or her base ten operations.

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Overview of Base Ten Operations at the Elementary Level

Base ten operations refer to calculations using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In lower elementary grade levels, your child will primarily be focusing on addition and subtraction. Upper elementary grades will be using multiplication and division, along with subtraction and addition. As your child progresses through school, the numbers she uses will get larger and the operations more difficult.

Lower Elementary (K-2)

1. There were 12 toys in the beach bucket. What different ways can you divide the toys into two groups? Write a number sentence to represent each of the ways. Hint: the groups do not have to be equal.

Your child could draw pictures to determine the different ways to break 12 into two groups. The number sentences he should come up with are: 11 + 1 =12, 10 + 2 =12, 9 + 3 =12, 8 + 4 =12, 7 +5 =12 and 6 + 6 = 12.

2. In the suitcase, there were four shirts and seven pair of jeans. How many items were in the suitcase altogether?

To solve this problem your child should add: 4 + 7 = 11. It may help her to model this number sentence with a drawing.

3. If there were 16 strawberries in the bowl and Susan ate nine of them, how many were left?

To determine the solution to this story problem, your child should subtract: 16 - 9 = 7.

Upper Elementary (3-5)

4. Josephine had $16.00 in her pocket. She bought a small pizza for $5.25, a drink for $1.50 and a cookie for dessert that costs $0.95. Her brother decided he wanted Josephine to buy him the exact same thing. Does Josephine have enough money to buy these items for her brother, too? If so, how much change will she have left?

This is a multi-step story problem. The first step is to determine the amount it will cost for the items Josephine wants to buy by adding: 5.25 + 1.50 + 0.95 = 7.70. To calculate the amount for what Josephine and her brother want, your child should add: 7.70 + 7.70 = 15.40. This would show that Josephine does have enough money to buy the items for her and her brother. To determine the amount of change, your child should subtract: 16.00 -15.40 = 0.60. This means that Josephine would have 60 cents left.

5. Mr. Miller had a piece of pipe that was 42 feet long. If Mr. Miller cuts it into eight equal pieces, how long will each piece be?

To solve this problem, your child should divide: 42/8 =5 R2. This shows that Mr. Miller would have five equal pieces, with 2/8 of a piece of pipe leftover.

6. The sixth grade class sold 152 desserts at their class bake sale. If each dessert sold for $5.00, how much did the class earn in all?

Your child should multiply: 152 x 5 = $760.
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