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20 Word Problems For Year 4: Develop Their Problem Solving Skills Across Single and Mixed KS2 Topics

Word problems for Year 4 play an important role in Year 4 maths. In Year 4, the main focus is to ensure that pupils are becoming more fluent with whole numbers and the four operations. Students work to develop efficient written methods and to be accurate with their calculations. Pupils in Year 4 are exposed to a wider range of problem-solving questions and progress from one to two-step problems.

It is important that all children are given regular opportunities to access reasoning and word problem style questions. Fluency, reasoning and problem solving should be intertwined through every lesson, with all children having the opportunity to tackle each of these question types. 

All Kinds of Word Problems Multiplication

All Kinds of Word Problems Multiplication

Strengthen your students' problem solving and multiplication skills with this pack of multiplication word problems

There can sometimes be a tendency for reasoning and problem solving questions to be treated as extension activities for only the higher attaining pupils to attempt, but children of all abilities need to be accessing them on a regular basis.

To help you with this, we have put together a collection of 20 word problems aimed at Year 4 pupils. For more Year 4 maths resources, take a look at our collection of Year 4 maths worksheets.

Year 4 Maths Word Problems in the National Curriculum

In Year 4, pupils progress from solving one-step problems, to also being exposed to two-step problems across a range of topics, as set out in the National Curriculum.

Place value 

Solve word problems involving counting in multiples of 6,7,9, 25 and 100; finding 1000 more or less than a given number; counting backwards through 0 to include negative numbers; ordering and comparing numbers beyond 1000 and rounding numbers to the nearest 10. 100 and 1000

Addition and subtraction 

Solve addition and subtraction problems with up to 4 digits, including two-step word problems, deciding which operations and methods to use and why.

Multiplication and division

Solve problems involving multiplying and adding, including using the distributive law to multiply two-digit numbers by 1 digit, integer scaling problems and harder correspondence problems.

Fractions, decimals and percentages

Solve problems involving increasingly harder fractions to calculate quantities, and fractions to divide quantities, including non-unit fractions where the answer is a whole number. Also Solve simple measure and money problems involving fractions and decimals to 2 decimal places.

Measurement

Solve problems involving converting from hours to minutes, minutes to seconds, years to months, weeks to days.

Statistics

Solve comparison, sum and difference problems using information presented in bar charts, pictograms, tables and other graphs.

Why are word problems important in Year 4 maths?

Word problems are increasingly important as pupils move through Key Stage 2. As they become more confident with some of the core concepts pupils need to be applying this knowledge to a range of situations. By the end of Year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12 times table and should be showing precision and fluency in their work.

How to teach problem solving in Year 4

Word problems in Year 4 should be fun and engaging for students. There are many ways to do this, including:

  • acting out the problem;
  • using manipulatives and visual images to help children understand the maths within the problem;
  • use of talk partners to encourage children to discuss the question and share strategies for reaching a solution;
  • using relatable problem solving situations.

Children need to be encouraged to read word problem questions carefully, to ensure they have identified the key information needed to be able to solve the problem. Pupils need to think about what they already know and how that information can help them to answer the question. They should also be encouraged to draw pictures and visual images, where appropriate, to help them to understand what the question is asking.

Here is an example:

A shop has an 8m roll of fabric.

The first customer buys 125cm of fabric and the second customer buys 3m from the same roll.

How much fabric is left on the roll, once the two customers have taken theirs?

How to solve:

What do you already know?

  • The amount the first customer buys is given in cm, the amount the second customer buys is given in m. These needed to be converted to the same unit.
  • Pupils in Year 4 need to be able to convert cm to m and vice versa. In this question, both the cm can be given as m or the m changed to cm to solve it.
  • Once the units are the same, the two amounts need to be added together, to work out the total amount bought by the two customers.
  • We can see this is a two-step question. To calculate how much fabric is left on the roll, the total amount bought by the two customers needs to be subtracted from the initial amount of fabric on the roll.

How can this be drawn/represented pictorially?

We can draw a bar model to represent this problem:

pictoral bar model
  • To calculate the total amount of fabric bought, we need the units to be the same. We can either calculate in cm (300cm + 125cm = 425cm) or in m (3m + 1.25m = 4.25m)
  • The amount of material bought needs to be subtracted from the original amount. This can again be solved in m or cm. Either in m: 8m – 4.25m = 3.75m or in cm: 800cm – 425cm = 375cm
  • The total amount of material left is 3.75m or 375cm

Addition word problems for Year 4

In Year 4, addition word problems involve questions up to 4-digit numbers. They can include one and two-step addition and incorporate a range of concepts, such as measures and money word problems 

Addition question 1

It is 4164 miles to travel from London to Doha and 3266 miles to travel from Doha to Bangkok.

How far is it to travel from London to Bangkok, if the flight stops in Doha first?

Answer (1 mark): 7430 miles

long addition

Addition question 2

Fill in the missing numbers in this calculation.

long addition workings

Answer (1 mark): 6840

long addition answer

Addition question 3

On Saturday, 5486 fans attended a football game and 3748 fans attended a rugby game.

How many fans watched the two games in total?

Answer (1 mark): 9234

long addition question

Subtraction word problems for year 4

Subtraction word problems in Year 4, also involve numbers up to 4-digits, including both one and two-step problems, covering a range of concepts. By this stage, children should be confident in estimating and using the inverse, to check calculations.

Subtraction question 1

3241 people visited the zoo on Saturday.

On Sunday 2876 people visited.

How many more people visited the lake on Saturday than on Sunday?

Answer (1 mark): 365

 3241 – 2876 = 365

column subtraction

Subtraction question 2

 A teacher prints out 1242 worksheets in a term.

If 435 were maths worksheets, how many did she print out for the other subjects?

Answer (1 mark): 807

column subtraction workings

Subtraction question 3

The temperature in Toronto dropped to minus 15 degrees celcius in December. 

In July the temperature was 47 degrees celsius warmer than it was in December. What was the temperature in July? 

Answer (1 mark): 32 degrees warmer

47 – 15 degrees = 32 degrees celsius

Or

Counting on 47 degrees from minus 15 degrees  = 32 degrees celsius

Multiplication word problems for year 4

In Year 4, multiplication word problems can include recalling facts for times tables up to 12 x 12 and multiplying two and three-digit numbers by a 1-digit number, using formal written layout.  

Multiplication question 1

All the pupils in Year 4 complete a mental maths test.

27 pupils score 9 marks out of 10.

What is the total number of marks scored by the 27 pupils?

Answer (1 mark): 243

27 x 9 = 243

column multiplication

Multiplication question 2

Year 3 and 4 children from a local primary school go on a school trip. 

Six mini buses are used to transport the children.

 There are 17 children on each minibus.

How many children go on the school trip?

Answer (1 mark): 102

17 x 6 = 102 children

column multiplication

Multiplication question 3

Biscuits come in packs of 18.

Mrs Smith buys 8 packs for the parents at the Y4 maths workshop.

How many biscuits does she buy altogether?

Answer (1 mark): 144 biscuits

column addition question

Division word problems for year 4

In year 4, pupils should be able to recall division facts for multiplication tables up to 12 x 12. Formal written method of division isn’t a requirement until Year 5 however, many schools choose to teach the formal method in Year 4. Pupils need to understand the concept of grouping and sharing and to understand the link between multiplication & division.

Division question 1

Sam has 28 friends coming to his birthday party.

Each child will receive a cupcake, which come in packs of 4.

How many packs of cupcakes will Sam need to buy?

Answer (1 mark): 7 packs

28 ÷ 4 = 7 

Division question 2

4 children raised £96 between them on a sponsored walk.

If they split the money evenly between the four of them, how much did each pupil raise?

Answer (1 mark): £24 each

96 ÷ 4 = 24

Division question 3

Ahmed is thinking of a number

He says, ‘when I divide my number by 12, the answer is 108.

What number was Ahmed thinking of?

Answer (1 mark): 9

108 ÷ 12 = 9

Fraction and decimal word problems in Year 4

In Year 4, decimal and fraction problems involve increasingly harder fractions to calculate quantities and fractions to divide quantities, including non-unit fractions, where the answer is a whole number. Decimal word problems include measure and money problems involving fractions and decimals up to 2 decimal places.

Fraction and decimal question 1

Jamie has 18 sweets. 

He gives \frac{1}{6}of the sweets to his friend and keeps the rest himself.

How many sweets does Jamie have now?

Answer (1 mark): 15 sweets

\frac{1}{6} of 18 = 3

18 – 3 = 15

Fraction and decimal question 2

Jaxon collected 36 conkers. 

\frac{1}{4} of the conkers fell out of a hole in his bag, when he was walking home.

How many conkers did Jaxon have left, when he got home?

Answer (1 mark): 9

\frac{1}{4} of 36 = 9

36 – 9 = 37      or      \frac{3}{4}of 36 = 29 (3 x 9)

Fraction and decimal question 3

Sara ate \frac{3}{12} of a chocolate bar and gave \frac{2}{12} to her friend.

What fraction of the chocolate bar did she have left? 

 Answer (1 mark): \frac{7}{12}

\frac{3}{12} + \frac{2}{12} = \frac{5}{12}

\frac{12}{12} - \frac{5}{12} = \frac{7}{12}

Or

\frac{12}{12} - \frac{3}{12} = \frac{2}{12} = \frac{7}{12}

Time word problems in Year 4

In Year 4, time problems include: converting from hours to minutes, minutes to seconds, years to months and weeks to days.

Time question 1 

A cake was put in the oven at 4:35pm and taken out at 4:57pm.

How long was the cake in the oven?

Answer (1 mark): 22 minutes

57-35 = 22 minutes

Or

Using an number line: 

time number line

Time question 2

It took Evie 25 minutes to complete a page of number problems. 

If she started at 2:45pm. What time did she finish?

Answer (1 mark): 3:10pm

Multi-step word problems in Year 4.

In Year 4, children are introduced to multi-step word problems requiring up to two steps. These problems cover a range of concepts, including the four operations, fractions, decimals and measures.

Third Space Learning’s online one-to-one tutoring frequently incorporates multi-step questions to test students’ knowledge and problem solving skills. Our personalised tutoring programme works to identify gaps in students’ learning, fill those gaps, reinforce students’ knowledge and build confidence.

year 4 word problem lesson slide
Example of a Third Space Learning Year 4 word problem lesson slide

Multi-step question 1

There are 6 handwriting pens in each pack.

A class has 30 children and each child needs 2 handwriting pens.

How many packs will the teacher need to buy?

Answer (2 marks): 10 packs of handwriting pens.

30 x 2 = 60

60÷6=10

Multi-step question 2

 Sophie has £4.50.

She buy 3 books at a carboot sale, costing 50p, 65p and £1.20.

How much money does she have left?

Answer (2 marks): £2.15 left

multi-step question

Multi-step question 3

Abullah is thinking of a number.

He doubles the number and adds 7.

He gets an answer of 25. 

What was his original number?

Answer (2 marks): 9

multi-step question subtraction and division

Do you have pupils who need extra support in maths?
Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of pupils across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons and maths interventions designed to plug gaps and boost progress.

Since 2013 we’ve helped over 130,000 primary and secondary school pupils become more confident, able mathematicians. Learn more or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.

Primary school tuition targeted to the needs of each child and closely following the National Curriculum.

Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson
Assistant Headteacher
Emma is a former Deputy Head Teacher, with 12 years' experience leading primary maths. Over the past 18 years, she has worked in primary schools in the UK and internationally, in Qatar. She now runs a tutoring company and writes resources and blogs for Third Space Learning, She is also the creator of the YouTube channel Maths4Kids with her daughter, Amber.
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All Kinds of Word Problems Multiplication

All Kinds of Word Problems Multiplication

Strengthen your students' problem solving and multiplication skills with this pack of multiplication word problems

Download Free Now!

All Kinds of Word Problems Multiplication

Downloadable resource

Strengthen your students' problem solving and multiplication skills with this pack of multiplication word problems

Download Free Now!
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FREE KS2 maths SATs practice papers

Get ready for SATs with this set of 6 maths SATs practice papers designed to help your Year 6 pupils improve test skills and build confidence.

Includes:
- 2 arithmetic and 4 reasoning papers that follow the National Curriculum Assessments.
- Mark schemes to diagnose and assess where your pupils need extra support.

Download free