Addition Word Problems: Drawing Pictures

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SWBAT draw pictures to solve addition word problems.

Big Idea

First graders need to begin thinking abstractly to solve equations. Drawing the details of a problem will help them build this skill.

Rev Them Up

5 minutes

I will have my students play "Cross the line." Students will line up facing me. I will use masking tape to create a line on the carpet. I will say, "Cross the line if ___________." If the students agree, they cross the line to the other side. If they do not, they don't move. Watch the video of my students playing the game. Any student who crosses the line and should have stayed put, has to sit down. You can make each advancing problem more difficult to eliminate more players or keep them steady and have a good review.

Examples:Cross the line if 2+3=5. (They should step over.)

Cross the line if 4+2=4. (Stay put.)

One good method to make sure your students understand an activity or game is to ask for a volunteer to repeat the instructions to you. If anyone did't pay attention to you, this gives them another opportunity to hear what is about to happen. Watch the video for the rules of how to play video.


Whole Group Interaction

15 minutes

My first graders have been using drawing as a means of solving problems since the beginning of the school year.  It is time to spice it up a little and give them another skill to focus on as they draw. Teaching art concepts is not required of all grade levels and not all schools have an art teacher. My school does not have an art teacher and art concepts do not get taught until students enter third grade. I have decided to teach my students about line art to try to advance their drawing skills. There are 8 types of lines art. I will present the different forms of lines; straight, curved, dotted, dashed, zig zag, intersecting, variable and an outline. 

My goal for my students is for them to create the best representation of the addition word problem that they can.  Being able to draw the picture in detail makes the word problem more concrete and can increase the value of comprehension of the problem. Here is a great example picture of student work because I want you to see what the end result is that you are trying to achieve with your kiddos. Students who are able to create detailed drawings to problem solve and represent visual ideas will be able to transition to abstract thought easier.  (MP2) Common core standards want us to train our students little minds to problem solve through the use of strategies and to think about what is happening.  This is a new concept than past required skills because the process was not emphasized.  All that use to matter in my state was the end result.  Now we want them to think about what they are doing and be able to explain how they reached their answer.  This is the premise of CCSS.

We will practice this drawing concept together using our dry erase boards and markers.  If you do not have access to such things, have them use plain paper and pencil. I will use several example problems and show them what kind of drawing I would create to represent the problem. 

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Need: 6 page flip book for each student; print the Addition Drawing Workbook and copy for each student.

How to make a flip book: Take 3 pieces of construction paper and cut them in half; this can be along the length or the width, it does not matter.  Now stagger the pages like stair steps and fold in the middle, staple at the top. I will make these up ahead of time because it will take a little bit of time or you may want to ask for a parent volunteer and supply them a sample on how to do it.

Students will cut apart their problems and glue one on each page of the flip book.  There will be room left for them to draw their picture. Watch the video of one of my students drawing his picture. Also, this video of my student discussing line art  to create illustrations.

I will be walking around the room and observing what my students are doing and identifying anyone who needs a little bit of assistance. I will be observing their pictures to see if they understand the problems and are the two related. They are on their own for the drawing and I will only assist if there is a math misconception occurring. This lesson is usually the one that everyone gets into because they love to draw. I always have a few students who do not have the patience to color, but I have never had anyone tell me they hate to draw.

Check Up

5 minutes

Most of my students have already began thinking abstractly and can solve addition equations from the facts they have memorized. In other words, they have already internalized the "drawing strategy" and are beginning to see the big picture in their head. This is the ultimate goal of the common core; for our little ones to master addition word problems and solve them using strategies. (1.OA.1).  I want them to use the strategy, but some will not see it completely necessary. I will be checking their completed work for correct answers and not worrying so much about those that do not complete strong pictures, yet provide correct answers.

First graders are at such varying levels that you cannot always expect the same from each individual.  I literally could have a 4 year spread of academic levels within my room. Look at these student's completed work within my class and their different ability levels for answering. Both are correct, but one was able to give me a complete number sentence to go with his picture. Make sure and check your students flip books. It will help you identify their abilities and weaknesses and find those students who may need extra support in the future.