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## SQRQCQ

This activity, adapted from Barton and Heidema’s Teaching Reading In Mathematics (2009), helps to guide students through the process of solving a mathematical word problem. Students follow a consistent set of steps to organize their approach to solving the problem, and to reflect metacognitively on their process. Students use the acronym SQRQCQ to recall and monitor the following steps:Survey: Students skim the problem to gather a general understanding of the nature of the problem and what they are solving for; Question: Students ask what the problem is about, and what information it requires.; Read: Students read the problem carefully and identify important information, relationships, and details that they will need to solve it;Question: Students ask what they need to do to solve the problem; Compute/Construct: Students perform the operations necessary to solve the problem; Question: Students ask if the solution makes sense, and if they solved the problem correctly.
CONTENT AREA
LEARNING MODALITY
LEARNING CYCLE STAGE

### Preparation

• Identify one or more word problems you want students to solve.
• Prepare a handout or display describing the steps of SQRQCQ.
• Prepare to model using SQRQCQ to solve at least one problem.

# 1

#### Teacher introduces SQRQCQ, and explains how to use it. Teacher models using SQRQCQ to solve a problem.

As you model, think aloud about the process so that students can understand how and why you make the decisions you do.  Clearly label and think aloud about each step of the process.

# 2

#### Teacher displays SQRQCQ process or distributes handouts describing the process. Teacher distributes one or more word problems to students.

You can easily differentiate instruction for this activity by providing different students with word problems of varying levels of difficulty.
Students can work individually or in groups.

# 3

#### Survey: Students skim the problem and gather a general understanding of what it is about, and what it is asking.

You can circulate as students are working, engaging one or two students at a time in mini-conferences in which you gauge their thinking process and their understanding, and help to guide them towards a higher level of thought.

# 4

#### Question: Students ask themselves questions including: • What is the problem about? • What information does the problem require? Students may change the wording of the problem or highlight the most important details.

You may want students to discuss these questions in pairs or groups, or in a whole class.  You can also choose to provide students with a SQRQCQ template in which they record their responses to each of the three questioning steps.

# 5

#### Read: Students read the problem carefully, either alone or in groups. Students look for critical information, relationships, and details that they will need to use to solve the problem.

Encourage students to read aloud during this step, to read slowly, and to read any challenging portions more than once.  Students may want to highlight important information.

# 6

#### Question: Students ask themselves questions about how they will solve the problem, including: • What operations need to be performed? • What numbers need to be used? • What order should the operations be performed in? • What is known, and what is un

You may want students to discuss these questions in pairs or groups, or in a whole class.  You can also choose to provide students with a SQRQCQ template in which they record their responses to each of the three questioning steps.
Consider providing students with a list of possible strategies, processes, and operations that they may use while solving problems.

# 7

#### Compute: Students solve the word problem. They perform any necessary computations, and/or construct any necessary models, and arrive at an answer.

Make sure to be available to struggling students at this point, to scaffold their efforts to apply their strategies to actually solve the problems.

# 8

#### Question: Students ask themselves questions including: • Does my answer make sense? • Were the calculations done correctly? • Are the units correct? • Does this actually answer the target question? • Were the facts in the problem used correctly?

You may want students to discuss these questions in pairs or groups, or as a whole class.  You can also choose to provide students with a SQRQCQ template in which they record their responses to each of the three questioning steps.
Help students to think through how they should respond if they think their answers do not make sense, or if they think they made an error.  Help them to identify strategies and resources to repair errors.

# 9

#### Students follow the SQRQCQ steps for any remaining word problems with increasing independence. They work alone or in groups.

You can also choose to provide students with a SQRQCQ template in which they record their responses to each of the three questioning steps.

# 10

#### Alone or in groups, in conversation or in writing, students reflect on their learning process.

Students respond to questions including:
How did this activity affect your understanding of the word problem?
How will this activity affect your ability to solve the word problem accurately?
In what other context might you use this strategy?