What's Your Story?

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Students will be able to solve one- and two-step problems using addition and subtraction that involve money with base-ten and place value strategies, and mentally subtracting within 20.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will solve and explain more difficult story problems. Additionally, students will explain their thinking in written form.


15 minutes

I begin this lesson by asking some probing questions to guide their thinking.  Basically, I want to see what they already know about the given standard .  I randomly hold up different pieces of money, and ask students to give its values, in addition to methods used to count each dollar and coin. learner's prior knowledge often confounds an educator's best efforts to deliver ideas accurately. 

Students are very familiar with the value of money, therefore, I move deeper into the lesson.  Since this lesson covers mathematical practices 1, 2, 5, and 6, students need to be able to think and solve various problems based on these five essential questions.


Materials needed for this lesson are: 

  • A large selection of manipulatives (including money)
  • paper
  • Story problems: Part 2” student task sheet (1 per student)

Lesson:   I introduce students to Part 1 of this lesson.  

 As a class we began to discussion on how problems can be solved. I may ask how and why questions to see if students understand the concept. After that, I take my time and model how story problems are solved step by step. However, I point out that there is more than one way to solve problems. Because students tend to find different ways to solve, I want them to feel comfortable doing it.



10 minutes


 In this part of the lesson I want students to really focus on the prior skills that they are using to help them determine how to solve problems. It is important for students to understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction as it relates to the problem they are solving.  

I point out that it will be perfectly alright for them to use pictorial representations or strategies to find their solution.  Especially students who appear to be struggling.  

I set the timer for about 20 minutes or so. As students are working, I circle the room to see what students are thinking and saying.  


Can you represent your problem?

Can you explain how you solved?

How did you determine what operation to use?

Many students can offer up great explanations, however, their responses were a bit vague. For instance, many students explained without using mathematical language.




15 minutes

As the students were ready to shift into their independent work, I give each student their own Story Problems” and  task sheet.  

I explain that they can solve the problems any way they chose using any manipulatives and tools they needed. I remind students to record their solutions with pictures, words, and numbers. I encourage them to write, and share their thinking with the class. As students are working, I circle the room to monitor how they problem-solve.  

Understanding that some students may have trouble, I may choose to differentiate their task in a few ways.


 v  Extension

 • Have students choose one problem and show as many strategies as they can to solve the problem using the story problem work mat.



 • Provide a 100 chart or number line to help with skip-counting.

·   Provide the student with the Think Sheet to solve problems based on questioning.

• Provide a “secretary” to write strategies for students struggling with communicating their thinking. Explain to the secretary to write exactly what the struggling student says.

  I continue probing and asking questions until the given time is up.