Real World Word Problems with Multiplication and Division (Day 1)

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Students will apply multiplication and division to Real World Story Problems. Students Will Be Able To simplify expressions and equations with multiplication or division, using order of operations working from left to right.

Big Idea

Many Real World Problems take more than one step to solve, sometimes 2 steps and sometimes more steps! Order of Operations is essential to all math work, leading to understanding of Algebraic expressions.

Language Objective and Prior Knowledge

Language Objective: Students will be able to explain, using academic language, the correct order of steps they take to solve a mathematical expression or equation.

Prior Knowledge: Students in 4th grade do some work with Order of Operations. Students use basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills.

Math Blast - Lesson Activator

15 minutes

MathBlast 26 Number of the Day 

Math Blast is a quick, fun, fast-paced math game! Every day starts with a Number of the Day. This is the tool I use to not only recall, reteach and pre-teach but it is my way to start classroom management. Students know the expectations of how to come in and get right to work. I do not have to spend any time waiting for students to get ready. Class starts immediately. And since I include music students are really engaged. I also encourage students to support each other for those struggling learners. This is also a great vehicle to expose students to concepts that I know will show up in state testing so that when we do get to these lessons students have already seen the work. Math Blast’s progression goes from easy to hard on the difficulty scale!

Students use a white board and divide it up as follows:


This space students write in the number of the day.



This section is the factors of the number of the day.


This section the students put the number of the day over 100.



This section students write if the number is Prime, Composite or Square.


Using the fraction, students write it as a decimal and a percentage.


This section the students put the above fraction in Lowest Terms if possible.


See, Think, Wonder

5 minutes

Andy Warhol's Coca Cola

I end Math Blast and lead into my lesson with a See, Think, Wonder. The art is choose always relates to the unit I am teaching. It is a real fun way to get your students to think deeper about a subject without them knowing that they are doing it.  

The SEE part is pretty basic thinking, I see….

The THINK part gets them thinking a little deeper. This art makes me think about….

And the WONDER gets them really thinking deeper. This art makes me wonder if….

It is my way to getting their brains ready to think about math and I find that the transition is great. It is also a quick chance to expose my students to different types of art.

Note: You don’t have to use art; I use art because I am passionate about art. Use examples of things that ignite your passion!

The Elevator Speech

10 minutes

Concept: I am taking the class back to a lesson I taught in the beginning of this unit centered on College and Career. The connection to math was to get students to see the connection to math and career.

In that lesson, students kept the math very simple. Now I am going to challenge them to create multiple-step word problems. This is going to be a 2 day project, as I want the to recreate their Four Square posters about their career. *Remember: students are more apt to remember processes when they create the word problems. This also helps them to see what word problems are asking them to do.

We’re going to think back to our lesson on careers and math. We all know that Mr. Ewing was a men’s fashion designer before becoming a teacher. There was always crazy math to do, especially when it came to ordering fabric for production. 

In a few minutes we're all going to get the chance to think about our careers and futures, but we're going to start out with thinking about Mr. Ewing's career in the fashion world.

(*Here I would model what a small moment in time would look like as a short story. I am using the idea of working in the showroom showing big retailers my collection. Please see Working It Out in the next section to see the whole lesson flow.)

Work It Out

40 minutes

At this point of the lesson, we are going to use the Four Square posters that students made back in the beginning of this unit. If you did not do the Four Square posters, you might want teach it first or create a ‘class’ version that everyone will start with to do this lesson.

An important part of this lesson is for students to see that remainders are "Real World", so create these situations.  Partial people or animals in answers is a fun way to talk about reminders, you can feed 1/3 of a person, or cut them up when you have a remainder.

SO the challenge here is going to be to create a two-step word problem (or more steps for extra credit, great for those higher thinkers) based on your career choice.

We already have some ideas on how you are going to use math in your career now we need to think even deeper to create this multi-step problems.  I want to see rough drafts before you finish your posters; I want these really thought out completely. So I would use scrap paper to start!

In order for this to be a productive lesson, it is wise to bring the class together about half way through class to generate help for those who are struggling!

Here is the flow that I suggest. Having them work in small steps really helps them stop and think about the work they need to do!

Writing Word Problems

I start on the carpet:

We are going to think back to our lesson on connecting math to our college and career choices. We have all dreamed about going into a career or two. Singing, Lawyers, Military, all sorts of things. Well, we are going to do a little writing to get us ready to write some story problems. But I am going to write a little story about my career in the fashion world (here I write about what it was like to work in the showroom showing stores' collections and having them write orders. (But you can use any experience you have to show them to write a short, single moment in time. Remember that you are going to connect multiplication and division to this work.)

Now before you get a chance to go start your own story I want to remind you that you are writing a short, single moment in time that you have NOT done yet but our career is school right now but you have all dreamt about what it would be like to have these big careers so we are going to do some predicting about what a day in the life would be like! (Questions?)

Step 1 – Model your life, identify what’s important (short).

Step 2 – Ask if they relate to my reality?

Step 3 – Students talk about their reality, then make their own reality paragraph

Off to their seats for 10 minutes

Bring them back in 10 minutes

You are going to need to identify ONE line in your story that you are going to pull things out of to help you write your story problem. I would pull out of my story about a big store placing an order for a certain item in my collection. With the classes help, make a list of all the things you would need to make this line happen in real life, this will help them make the connection of what they need to do.

Step 4 – Pick a line of your own reality to model for the students.

Step 5 – have the class come up with ideas that support line you picked, what things do you need?

Step 6 – students will do the same, pick a line and then make a list.

Off to their seats for 10 minutes

Bring them back in 10 minutes

Decide the things that you are going to work into your story problem from your list. Find the multiplication you are going to work into your story problem. Start to construct your story problem.

It should have these components: 1. Start with a great lead in sentence (no math) 2. Story problems have at least 2 steps 3. End with a question that leads the reader to know what they are solving

Step 7 – Add things from your list to your sentence, rewrite adding numbers

Step 8 – Write a finished word problem, then show the math

Off to their seats for 10 minutes

Bring them back in 10 minutes

Step 12 – Student work.


Back to seats

Step 14 - Students work, and as they finish have them look at real ones in their books.

Closing The Deal

10 minutes

This is a lesson that takes some time, so I've made sure students have known all along that this work doesn't have to be completed today. I want their best work!

Because it is engrossing, I act as time keeper to help students be prepared for when I pull the class back together.  Even though this is a two-day lesson, it is important to stop and talk about struggles people are having, and ask for students suggestions that may help solve some problems. That's real world too!

The Closing It section of the lesson is very important. This opportunity allows you to bring the class back together and have them make the connection to the learning objective of the day. You should also make sure that you make a connection to the word of the day. This closing gives students the opportunity to make the connection to the launch and the work that they did. It is also another chance to give a quick formative assessment to check for understanding.

Quick Assessment

5 minutes

While I try to do a Quick Assessment every day I will not do one today because this lesson is stretched over 2 days. 

The Quick Assessment is supposed to be quick and on the easy to medium difficulty level. You are checking to see if students understand the basic concept of the lesson. If you make the problem difficult you are adding a different level of assessment. If you are teaching a higher level class adding a difficult layer might be appropriate but please note that I do not find it necessary to add this level.