Saturday, February 14, 2015

Solving Word Problems Part 2

This week in math we finished up our unit on the 4 operations. Again, we focused on word problems. We looked at some specific types of word problems that they will encounter.

We had a short week this week in math because we spent a couple of days on benchmark testing for the district.

Day 1
Monday we looked at interpreting remainders. This was a skill I noticed they needed from our work last week with different word problems. I used an anchor chart that I found on Pinterest to help me create one with my kids. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the source of the chart.

Here's what mine looked like:

We talked about 3 different types of remainder problems. Times when we ignore the remainder, times when we have to round up our answer to account for the remainder and times when the remainder is our answer.

Once we'd looked at these types of problems. We worked out some problems together, using the CUBES problem solving strategy, and discussed which type of problem it was.

Then I had the students work in pairs on some remainder word problems from our textbook. They were pretty challenging problems. Once they'd had time to work them out together, we went over them as a class.

Day 2
Tuesday, I explained to the kids that so far we'd been looking at a lot of 1-step problems where the main focus was on deciding the correct operation. However, in 4th grade, they're not going to see too many 1-step problems. So for today we were going to sort problems into 3 different categories: problems with extra information, one-step problems, and multi-step problems.

Together we looked at 6 different word problems and sorted them. We talked through how to solve each problem, but the main emphasis was on deciding which category the problem would fit in. (I tried to pick problems that clearly fit into one of the categories)

Then the kids got in pairs and had their own 6 problems to sort (You can see their directions in my picture above). Once most groups were done sorting, I had them choose 1 problem from each category to work through our problem solving paper on. They had to use the CUBES strategy, solve the problem, write their answer in a complete sentence, and justify their answer.

I had several groups who realized they had sorted a problem incorrectly once they began solving it. This just further reinforced the idea that using a problem solving strategy helps the kids read more critically.

Day 3
Wednesday was our last day of lessons for the week since we were benchmark testing Thursday & Friday. I was also out half the day for curriculum meetings so I needed something that could easily be taught by a substitute.

We completed a frayer model on estimation. I forgot to take a picture of mine at work, but you can find a great example at Math Workshop Adventures' blog.

Then the kids worked in pairs to complete some word problem task cards. I tried to choose a variety of word problems (1-step, multi-step, extra info, different operations, remainders, estimation, etc). I also did a mix of problems that gave answer choices & problems that didn't.

I used a lot of partner work and group work during our lessons on problem solving. I think that it is critical for kids to talk out the problems.

I haven't gotten the results of our benchmark yet, but I loved seeing their strategies on their papers. I even had a couple of students raise their hand to share with me that they noticed some important key words in the problems. Yay! : )

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