Multistep problems

Home learning focus

Learn how to solve addition and subtraction word problems.

This includes:

  • two summary slideshows
  • one video
  • one practise activity

*Created in partnership with Twinkl.


Have a look through this slideshow to find out about a handy way to approach solving word problems.

It is easier to solve a word problem if you break the problem-solving process into parts. One successful way of breaking down a word problem is using RUCSAC. What is RUCSAC?

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An operation is a mathematical process. The most common operations are add, subtract, multiply and divide. Can you write down the mathematical symbols to match these?

One-step problems require one operation to solve the problem. Two-step and multi-step maths problems require more than one operation to find an answer.

Often, you will have to use the answer to the first step using one operation to work out the rest of the problem.

Now, let's take a look at some problems in this slideshow.

Which operation do you need to solve this problem? Captain Grey started counting his haul of gold. On Monday, he counted 452 bars of gold. On Tuesday, he counted 314 and on Wednesday, he counted 1322 bars of gold. How many bars of gold did he have altogether?

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You might not always have a phone or calculator to hand – so here is Albert to explain how to estimate in your head, by rounding up or down.

What is estimation?

You can use estimation to get a rough idea of a calculation. You can round the numbers up or down to make it easier to do calculations in your head, or with a pen and paper. We usually round to the nearest 5 or 10.

It can be useful to have an estimation when planning something in advance, for example if you were ordering cakes for the guests at a party, or the materials for building.


Activity 1

Worksheet - Categorising problems

Sort the word problems into the correct category by identifying the operation needed to solve them. You could have a go at solving the problems once you have sorted them.

Categorising problems

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

Bitesize Daily lessons
KS2 Maths
Primary games