What Are Multi-Part Word Problems?
Multi-part math word problems are problems that require solving multiple parts or steps. They may include several subtasks that must be completed in a specific order to find the final answer. Or each part may be separate tasks involving the same scenario. These problems often challenge students to apply multiple skills, keep track of information, and determine what information is needed for each part (and not needed).
These can be very similar to multi-step word problems. However, they can differ in two main ways:
- Sometimes information is needed from previous parts to solve new parts, but not always. Multi-step problems typically always require the use of previous steps in the next or final step.
- The parts are usually labeled as Part A and Part B.
Helping Students Solve Multi-Part Word Problems
- Step 1: Read the beginning information and the first part of the task. Highlight or underline the question that is being asked.
- Step 2: Solve the first part, writing your answer in a complete sentence, and checking to make sure it makes sense.
- Step 3: Read the second part and highlight or underline the question.
- Step 4: Ask yourself: Do I need the answer OR information from the first part to solve the second part?
- Step 5: Solve the second part, writing your answer in a complete sentence, and checking to make sure it makes sense.
- Step 6: Repeat steps 3-5 with any additional parts.
Here are a few more examples. As you can see on the bottom example, part B required no additional information from part A.
Download the FREE Solving Multi-Part Math Tasks Poster
If you think these steps will be helpful for your students or for you as you model thinking through solving complex math tasks with multiple parts, click here or on the image below to grab the poster for free. You can use this to guide your anchor chart and then give students a copy to refer to when they are solving multi-part math tasks.
Need Multi-Part Math Tasks and Word Problems?
If you need differentiated multi-part word problems for each major 5th grade math skill (working with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions, check out this bundle of tasks.
Each task is included in three versions. The tasks themselves are not differentiated, but the response part is differentiated.
1st Level – The first level has sentence stems to help the students respond in complete sentences and separate workspaces for each part.
2nd Level – The second level has no stems but separates the workspace for each part.
3rd Level – The final part (where I will eventually move all my students to) has no stems and no separate workspace. The students will be expected to organize their answers on their own with no scaffold.
Want to try a free math task? —-> Click here to grab a free math constructed response task with multi-parts.