What's the Problem? {FREEBIE}

I'm always looking for new ways to work with word problems in the classroom.  I think that students need lots of practice solving them, but I also think it's good for them to write them. It's also kind of fun and a great way for them to think about these types of math problems from a different perspective.

I just finished creating a Thanksgiving themed "What's the Problem" mini book for my students.  These booklets are perfect for practicing the skill of writing word problems, or story problems, as our math series calls them.

I love the concept behind these mini books!  The students are tasked with creating a story (word)  problem for a given answer.  They have to use a different kind of thinking to do this, and they have to use the correct vocabulary terms as they write their problems (i.e. "how many more?"  "how many in all?" and so on).

My students are taught to write three sentences.  The first two sentences pose the problem, and the third asks the question. I also tell my students that they need to use the problem label throughout their story.

 For example:

Sara put 18 dinner plates on the table.  Her mother removed 3 dinner plates from the table.  How many dinner plates are left?

I learned about using this kind of thinking in the classroom at a math workshop I attended last spring, but was reminded of it when I stumbled upon the anchor chart referenced in last month's post.

When using these for the first time, it's a good idea to do several of them whole group.  That way, you can make sure your students understand the expectation and gain confidence with the skill prior to attempting it on their own.

And, when your kids are ready, you can challenge them to make their story problems "tricky" by adding extra (irrelevant) information to the story.  They loved trying to trick their reader.

You can get your freebie by clicking here!

You can find all of my What's the Problem books by clicking here

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  1. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing this freebie.

    Granny Goes to School

  2. Thank you so much for your freebies. Time and time again your materials are the right fit for my students.

    1. That's great! I'm so happy to hear that they are useful resources! Stay tuned for a December Edition. Enjoy!


  3. We do Math Journals and this is a neat twist on that!!! Thank you for sharing and I cannot wait to try these out :-)

    1. I hope your students like it! My kiddos are enjoying them; so far, anyway! Stay tuned, I plan to make a holiday version too.


  4. This is fabulous. Getting ready to do a unit on story problems. Thanks so much.


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