Personal-Interest Problems

Personal-interest problems can be used to motivate students and provide concrete examples of mathematical concepts. Word problems that appear daunting to students may be more appealing if the subject matter involved is relevant to the students' lives.

Implementation Tips

Use Familiar Names
When working on word problems, incorporate the names of a student’s family, friends and teachers into the problem to make the problem relevant to the student.
Video Games
Use video games as a basis for calculation problems. (e.g. "You scored 86403 on Super Mario and your brother Bill scored 76,777 on the same game. Who won? How many points did you or Bill win by?")
Student Generated Topics
Have students suggest the content for the word problem then write the problem according to the suggestions.


Pop Culture
Math calculation problems can be written to focus on items that are popular with the age range of a particular group of students. Word problems can be developed according to the interests of students (video games, sports, popular books, characters etc.)
Student Interest Word Problems
Money problems can be designed with a particular student’s interest in mind.
Student Related Data
When introducing graphs, the teacher can make the concept relevant to the students by having the students do a birthday graph. For example, the teacher can have a graph with the months of the year on the X axis and number of students with birthday in that month on the Y axis. (Refer to illustration above.)