Numberless Word Problems

Have you ever said or thought any of the following?

  • “They just add all the numbers! It doesn’t matter what the problem says.”
  • “They don’t stop to think! They just start computing as soon as they’re done reading the problem.”
  • “They don’t even realize this is exactly the same type of situation as the problem we did yesterday!”

Then you might be interested in trying out numberless word problems with your students. You read that right, numberless word problems.

In essence, numberless word problems are designed to provide scaffolding that allows students the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the underlying structure of word problems. This page is a collection of resources to help you learn about numberless word problems and help you start using them in your classroom.

Get started by reading my initial post introducing numberless word problems. I followed that up with a post about writing your own numberless word problems. Even if you don’t want to use numberless word problems, there’s some good advice in there about how to save yourself time creating your own word problems for students.

Problem Banks

My latest endeavor is creating small banks of numberless word problems related to each of the CGI problem types. I wrote a post about that project here. As sets of problems are finished, I’ll post them on this page.

Addition and Subtraction Problem Types

Multiplication and Division Problem Types


  • Planning Resources – Sentence stems, questions to ask, and planning template
  • Pumpkin-Themed Problems – Designed for grades 3-5
  • Trick or Treat – Halloween-themed problem ideal for grades 4-5
  • Three Problems – Each ends with a sample list of questions that could be asked about the situation. Depending on the questions asked and whether/how numbers are changed, these problems could be used across grade levels.

Blog Post Collection

Would you like to hear how other educators have used numberless word problems? You’re in luck! I’m collecting their blog posts here so we can all learn from one another. Enjoy!

If you write a blog post and would like me to include it here, just fill out this form. You can also share pictures and other resources using the #numberlesswp hashtag.