Writing an Estimation Word Problem, Day 1

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Objective

SWBAT write an original word problem for estimating fraction sums.

Big Idea

Students dissect a good word problem.

Do Now

10 minutes

In preparation for the lesson, students will review the concept of estimating fraction sums.  

Do Now

Estimate the sum.

1.  

13 
4
5
  –  
12 
4
5

2.  

279 
3
4
  +  
73 
1
5

3.  

173 
5
6
  +  
661 
3
6

 

After 5 minutes, I will select 3 students to share and explain their answers.

 

 

 

Hook

10 minutes

I will read The Math Curse  by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith to students.  It is a story about a student who finds a math problem in everything she does at home and school. This will lead into the lesson of students writing their own math problems.

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

 

My goal for students this year is to be able to write original word problems for various topics and solve each other's word problems.  As an important step towards this goal, students need to be able to identify what a good word problem looks like.  I will present a few word problem that we will solve as a class.  Then we will discuss the qualities of a good, solvable word problem.

Ex. 1 -  Last season Nick picked 1 ¾ bushels of tomatoes from his kitchen garden and 14 1/3 bushels from his canning garden.  About how many total bushels of tomatoes did he harvest?

 

Ex. 2 -  Roy needs 2 yards of molding to put around the bottom of a stand.  He has two pieces of molding:  one is 7/8 yard long and the other is 8/7 yard long.  Estimate whether he has enough molding.

Rather than tell students what makes a good word problem, I'd like them to build on what they already know.  

What is a word problem?  

Students may respond with:

  • A word problem is a story with math.
  • A math question with a lot of information. 

What makes a word problem good and solvable? 

Students may respond with:

  • It gives important information.
  • It has key words.
  • It's interesting.
  • It has an answer.
  • It tells a story.
  • You can use a math strategy to solve it.

 

 After they've brainstormed and shared ideas about word problems, I will ask students a few clarifying questions.  Do word problems always have a question?  Can a word problem have more than one answer? What's the difference between an easy word problem and a difficult word problem?

Group Work

10 minutes

With their group, students will write a word problem on estimating fraction sums.  They will have to solve their word problem to be sure it makes sense.  Students are grouped homogeneously by math level.  This will encourage a differentiated level of problems.

Directions:  With your group, write an original word problem for the topic of estimating fraction sums/differences.  Solve the word problem.

This is a 2 day assignment.  For this first day, I will encourage students to focus on brainstorming scenarios, names, types of questions,...

Lesson Review

5 minutes

I will conclude the lesson by answering any additional questions students may have about the project.  For example, students may wonder whether they can include more than one question or a multi-step problem.