CHECK OUT SHMOOP'S FREE STUDY TOOLS: Essay Lab  Math Shack  Videos
Common Core Standards: Math
The Standards
High School: Algebra
Creating Equations HSACED.A.1
1. Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
Students should be able to interpret word problems and form equations and inequalities in order to solve the problem. That means translating a word problem to an algebraic equation.
Let's be real, here. Math is another language, just like Spanish, Japanese, or Icelandic. When you start learning a language, you don't start by translating words like "absquatulate" or "loquacious" or "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" (and yes, that is a real word).
It's better to start easier, with words like "cat" and "girl" and slowly work your way up. Just the same, if you use simple linear equations that are familiar to students, they can focus on the translation process and it'll all go a lot smoother.
Translation is a useful analogy in and of itself because it emphasizes that the algebraic equation is the same as the word problem, just presented in a different way. In addition to helping students to understand the process, the translation analogy can also help reassure struggling learners and encourage practice.
After they've gotten a hang of the basics, students can start learning quadratic, rational, and exponential functions to address all aspects of this standard. Once students are familiar with these operations individually, they should be asked to distinguish them from each another.
As students gain experience, there are additional strategies that should be introduced. One experienced problem solver strategy is to read the question twice before beginning. It's a useful piece of advice in general, actually.
Writing a list of what is known and a list of what needs to be calculated is also an excellent strategy. Such lists are especially useful when sorting out unnecessary information, identifying an appropriate formula to utilize, or constructing a proof. These strategies should be suggested and shown to students after they are proficient with the basic translation process.
To start off, the chart below may be presented as a dictionary to support word to symbol translation. Students can also add to the chart as they find other key words or phrases.
Algebra Symbol  Key Words 
= equals 

< is less than 

≤ is less than or equal to 

> is greater than 

≥ is greater than or equal to 

+ addition 

– subtraction 

× multiplication 

/ division 

x^{n} power 

n^{x} exponential 

If you needed another word problem example or video to show your students, here is one such example:
Drills
Aligned Resources
 Calculations Involving Percents of Percentages  Math Shack
 Solving for Negative Exponents  Math Shack
 Solving for Exponents  Math Shack
 Exponential Equation: Same Base with Different Exponents  Math Shack
 Word Problems Involving Sums of Consecutive Numbers  Math Shack
 Finding Unknown Length: Using Midpoint  Math Shack
 Word Problems with Inequalities  Math Shack
 Word Problems (Inequalities)  Math Shack
 Polynomial Word Problems  Math Shack