CUBES Math Strategy for Word Problems

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The CUBES math strategy is a tool teachers use to aid students with problem solving. Do you have students that when faced with a word problem they seem to freeze and have no idea where to start?

The math CUBE strategy provides those students with a starting point, a set of steps to perform in order to solve a particular math word problem.

What is the CUBES strategy?

This strategy helps students break down word problems by creating five steps they must follow in order to solve. CUBES is an acronym that is easily remembered by students.

C – Circle the numbers

U – Underline the question

B – Box the key words

E – Evaluate and Eliminate unnecessary information

S – Solve and check

Why use the CUBES math strategy?

  • It gives students a starting point when they are faced with word problems. We know many kids fear word problems and many times they have no idea where to start.
  • It makes kids aware of what the problem is asking – this might seem simple but forcing kids to underline the question is a good way to make them read what is the problem asking me to do.
  • It brings out all the numbers in the problem – sometimes word problems present numbers in numerical form, word form, or any other tricky form. Circling the numbers forces kids to look through the problem to find numbers in any form.

If you are looking for a digital way to use CUBES, I have created a set of Google slides where students can annotate the word problems, write an equation, and solve.



CUBES Math Strategy Word Problems
CUBES Math Strategy Word Problems


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