Integer Addition Word Problems - Can You Picture It? (Two Day Lesson)

22 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to write and model an original integer addition word problem.

Big Idea

Can you picture integer addition? Students will use drawings, number lines, and chips to visualize integer addition word problems.


10 minutes

Opener:  As students enter the room, they will immediately pick up and begin working on the opener.  Please see my instructional strategy clip for how openers work in my classroom (Instructional Strategy - Process for openers).  This method of working and going over the opener lends itself to allow students to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, which is mathematical practice 3.  

Learning Target:  After completion of the opener, I will address the day’s learning targets to the students.  In today’s lesson, the intended targets are, “I can model an addition of integers word problem using a drawing and a number line or chips.” Students will jot the learning target down in their agendas (our version of a student planner, there is a place to write the learning target for every day). 


50 minutes

Instruction: Watch my Visual Word Problems Explore Narrative, which explains how this lesson helps student relate problems to the real world, mathematical practice 4. I will pass out Visual Word Problems Notes for students to follow along.

Write Your Own: For this activity, students are seated at their normal homogeneous table groups. Homogeneous grouping is a key element to this activity, as together they will be able to create a good product without one person running the show. I am asking tables to work together to write one word problem that can be solved using addition of integers. As tables begin the process, I will walk around and offer assistance as needed – usually kids just need reinforcement that they are headed in the right direction. When students feel as though they have a good problem, they will call me over to get approval – and once I have approved they will pick up poster board, markers, etc to begin the actual product. With their table groups, students will write the problem on the poster board, and create a visual representation of what is happening in the problem, using a number line or positive/negative chips to explain the logic of the answer. Additionally, students will write the actual addition problem and answer on their poster. This activity is a good use of the mathematical practices, as students have to reason abstractly and quantitatively to both write and represent with number their own original problem, mathematical practice 2, and use appropriate tools strategically (mathematical practice 5) – with the incorporation of the integer chips and number line. Moreover, it will be important that students pay close attention to precision in both the wording and visual representation of the problem (mathematical practice 6). Time permitting, I will either have students share their posters with the class, or just collect them.


5 minutes

Presentations:  This lesson takes more than one class period in order for students to produce a quality product.  Therefore, on the first day I just have students clean up and I let them know that they will be finishing and then presenting their word problem the next day.  On day 2 of the lesson, after all groups have finished working I have each group present their word problem to the class, and explain their picture.  On day 2 since groups will finish at different times, I have an assignment (When You Finish Assignment) that students can work on while they wait for all groups to finish, and it is attached!