Navigating Road Blocks in Problem Solving

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SWBAT apply their understanding of multiplication and division to model and solve word problems.

Big Idea

Students can solve real world problems using their understanding of multiplication and division and recognizing their relationship.


5 minutes

When we think about problem solving, sometimes there are road blocks. Sometimes I get stuck, or I get a little bit off track. When we have enough problem solving tools in our tookbox, we can reach in and use them when we hit a road block. Today we are going to think about Jack’s word problem and what we need to solve it. We will pause after he reads it to us so that we can take whatever road we need to solve it! We will check to see if our road led us to the right answer!

The warm-up problems and quick checks are important for students to develop fluency (3.OA.C.7). The independent practice they will do will also be targeted at developing fluency. The goal of quick checks and warm-ups is also to ensure students can make sense of problems and find solutions (MP1), to consider the units involved and understand the meaning of the quantities involved (MP2). I expect all of my students to show their work by modeling the problem (MP4), calculating accurately (MP6) and to identify patterns and relationships in the problems (MP7). I incorporate these things every day because they can be so difficult for young students to master.

Quick Check

10 minutes

One of the things that is important in math is to find ways to problem solve. We don’t always take the same route, just like I don’t always take the same roads on my way home from work! Problem solvers are able to use the best roads for the problem! Please warm-up your brain with a quick check before we get started on our work today!

Independent Practice

35 minutes

One way we are going to become better at solving math problems is to keep working hard at it. You’ve shown me how to find relationships in numbers and we’ve been working very hard at problem solving. Today you’re going to have to read problems that require you to problem solve. It might be multiplication and it might be division, there might be missing numbers and they might be tough- but I want you to use your problem solving tools to help you solve your problems and show your work!

I have cut up word problems on their tables and students will have to alternate between the operations. In order for students to develop fluency in solving problems they must be given time to practice applying the skills they have learned. Students choose problems, show their work to solve and then move on to another problem. If they have tried using their tools and are having trouble, I will help them get on the right track, but it’s important not to give them the answers. It is important that students are able to justify their reasoning and the validity of their answer (MP3, MP4, MP5, MP6) so I expect to see their steps for solving written out. I do not accept a single answer to justify their work, they must also show me their steps.

(pictures of ind work- division probs on lined paper)