Spring 2021


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Jana Lo Bello Miller

Content Expert

Beth Harstad


My research question for my capstone project is: How does incorporating real-world word problems into weekly math curriculum in middle school affect students' learning, engagement, and understanding? I have created a math word problem curriculum, “Word Problem Wednesday”, to be used in my own math classroom to create real-world learning opportunities through problem-solving. I teach 5th-grade math, and I have noticed a lack of understanding of word problems related to problem-solving in the classroom. The curriculum I have developed is based on the need for a curriculum where word problems are purposefully incorporated weekly with meaning while creating understanding. Every week on Wednesdays, students will be given five word problems to solve and submit on the learning management system Schoology. These word problems will review previous math concepts and/or be based on the math we are currently studying. Word problems are most successfully used if they relate to students' lives, the language is understood, and students are taught to think critically (Bates & Wiest, 2004, p. 18). This is why all of the problems in this curriculum are based on students' hobbies and interests. Researcher Oritz highlights the importance of students understanding vocabulary and what the question is asking (Ortiz, 2016, p. 8). While completing/after completing the word problems, teachers will facilitate a class discussion and students will write down key words/vocabulary, steps and strategies to solve each word problem, connect to problems we have previously solved, and discuss the real-world connections. The implementation of my curriculum in my own classroom was successful. Over the six weeks we completed Word Problem Wednesday, my students' scores on the word problems slowly increased. My students were pushed and challenged to think critically. I had many students struggle with solving the word problems to start, but I saw improvement each week as students began to learn the key words and how to analyze and find the important information. Students began to see the math we were doing in the classroom connect to their own lives and they showed excitement about it. My students began looking forward to Word Problem Wednesday because math started to have meaning.

Project Type



Curriculum, Mathematics, Teachers/ Teaching








School of Education Student Capstone Projects

Included in

Education Commons