Creating a Word Problem Book

8 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to write a multi-step story problem which requires solvers to use groups of objects, rather than individual objects.

Big Idea

Students have been working on solving word problems requiring the use of equal groups. Now they will be challenged to think backwards and create the problems.

Warm Up

15 minutes

After working with solving equal group word problems using the book Each Orange Had 8 Slices, I decide to have the students create their own pages for a class book.  I choose to do this to assess if the children can "think backwards" in their approach to the solutions.  I also use part of the lesson to introduce a new game to the students, as practice of basic fact accuracy.

To begin our class, I hand out the clue cards to this game "I Have, Who Has" to the students. The link will take you to an already prepared game.  However, you can create your own game by clicking here.

The game is simple to play.  Be sure to pass out all of the cards in the set.  This may mean your students get more than one card each.  The card that says "start" is the first one to be read. Then the person with the product will stand and read his or her card.  It moves this way in a loop until, if played correctly, ends with the person that began.

Following the fun warm up, I remind the students of the book Each Orange Had 8 Slices.  We talk about the pattern of the text in the book, with each page having three number statements and three questions. We also discuss how each page has a very specific illustration for the statements that would help the reader answer the given questions. 

Following the review, I ask the students to turn and talk with their partner about what units, or objects, they would write a page about if they could add to this book.

Once they had an idea of different topics, I introduce a prompt page for students to use in order to create a page for our own class book, modeled from Each Orange Had 8 Slices.  

Click here for the student prompt page.

Active Engagement

20 minutes

As students begin to create their stories, I meet with table groups to discuss with them their thinking. At this point, I expect the students to understand the concept of multiplication being about counting equal groups, but I know there will be some confusion about the organization of the multi-step thinking it takes to create a working story.  

Questions you may consider asking during this lesson are:

  • What is your main topic? (pumpkins)
  • What detail about the pumpkins will the reader notice? (triangle teeth)
  • What should we notice about the triangle teeth? (spots)

Once students have those details organized, then they can assign number values to the units.  For example, a possible flow for the above could be:

I was on my way to trick or treat when I saw 4 carved pumpkins.  Each pumpkin had 2 triangle teeth.  Each tooth had 3 dark spots.  How many pumpkins were there?  How many triangle teeth were there?  How many dark spots were there?

This video is of a student's completed page, with an idea of how to lay out the modeling and the order to step the students through the structure.

Although this appears to be more of a writing project, the students are stretched to think about number sense and patterns to represent groups of objects.  

After the students complete the written piece, they will illustrate the story in detail for the reader. On the back, they will create an answer key for each question, using appropriate multiplication equations. 


15 minutes

As students complete their pages, I pull them to our community center to share.  You may choose to have the audience (those who are finished) work to solve the stories as they are shared, if there is time.  

I am going to photocopy the student pages and have them solve a page each day as homework.  My students are very excited about this opportunity and have declared the idea of creating their own homework to be "awesome"! 

While students share, I ask questions about what they found to be difficult about this assignment. The purpose of this question is to guide the students in thinking about how they think and what they do to solve their own problems while working. 


5 minutes

Following the share time, I ask the students to decide if they have any editing to do on their page before publication of the book.  At this time, I ask them to turn and talk with their partners about what they might need to edit and why they believe they need to do so. Many students are driven to revise their work by hearing/seeing errors from a peer.  However, I believe they are even more motivated to revise when they see something interesting from other's work.  So, these few moments add a lot of impact if presented often and are practiced. 

These edits can be homework or classwork, depending on your situation and class time.  Regardless, this simple act pushes the students to critique their work and refine their understanding of modeling equal groups in words and illustrations.