Tape Diagrams are a consistent diagram drawing strategy to assist students in unpacking work problems. By visually representing the word problem, students have a better chance to select the correct operations to be performed.
Most questions can be solved in this way and tape diagrams will look different but the simple structure means that students have a easy starting point.
There is a great site that allows you to model tape diagrams as well as solve a selection of problems (which is quite extensive) electronically. This is a good way to get some practice as there are hints and guided solutions. http://www.thinkingblocks.com/
Here are some worksheets to practice creating Tape Diagrams – it is NOT suggested that these worksheets are given as is to students. More over they should be presented in a structured way to develop technique and confidence – this may be done as a class exercise or small group work. I think it is critical to evaluate the students solutions along the way and NOT like a test (do them and I will then mark them). I have included answers but remember these are only suggested answers there are many ways to approach them and the different ways should be investigated with the students. They have been given Stage headings but these are only indicative – use your professional judgement to select appropriate questions (also think about differentiating the questions selected for the class).
Possible Solutions with diagrams for all 3 worksheets – Answers to 3 worksheets with diagrams