In a Heartbeat! Connecting Informational Text to Multistep Word Problems

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SWBAT glean mathematical data from informational text to solve multi-step word problems, compare and interpret data and create a graph.

Big Idea

Students explore two articles about hearts to solve word problems, develop their critical thinking while graphing, choosing recipes and having a lot of fun!

What can you do to keep your heart healthy?

5 minutes

February is heart health month! I want to set the stage and mindset using this video from the American Heart Association for children. The beauty of CCSS is that I can integrate informational text with mathematics to help support and grow student reasoning while honing skills in listening and reasoning. This video talks to students about eating well, exercise and other important things they should know about their hearts. It sets them up for the main lesson that requires them to glean information they will use to solve math problems. They really liked the video and we took a few minutes to discuss our favorite healthy foods and foods that we don't like, but should eat. I don't like broccoli all that much, but shared how I eat it anyway because of the vitamins and calcium it gives me.

The Human Heart: Using informational text and solving word problems

15 minutes

Getting to the Heart of the Matter.

 Independent Read and Study Part 1.

I think that the beauty of Common Core is that standards integrate across the curriculum so naturally. We can integrate informational text, teach students to draw mathematical information from that text and then use it to satisfy math standards.

 I designed this lesson on iTunes U for my students to do directly on their iPad. If you have the app, you can transfer any of this lesson right to it. This lesson runs a little bit more independently, freeing me up to counsel with students who are struggling with concepts. I will pull the small groups and work with them. The higher level students will be completely on their own. When this app is opened, you see the sections and explicit direction for each activity and they can complete it right on the iPad. Then, I can review any of their written work as well as any paper computations, graphs, etc. that go along with the activity. It's great! I included the following in my iTunes lesson:

The Human Heart article is a short article about how our heart works. Students independently read the article and took notes in their math notebook.

I asked my students to take notes on any new vocabulary, use context clues skills and find out about how many beats an adult heart beats per minute and any other "math" or number related facts they could find. (They can take these notes directly on the iPad in their notes ap or, they can write them in their Math journal.)

After they read the article, they shared with a partner to compare their notes. Students working in small groups were monitored by me. *It really becomes a guided lesson for them and my chance to do some RTI work since this lesson reviews double digit multiplication. We can see how this student is being coached to think about equations in this clip: Reasoning

As he progressed, I coached him some more to explain the meaning of each number in an equation. I think this is so very important in mastering the standard because suddenly students connect their thinking to what they are doing. Meaning of numbers.... & Meaning Accomplished.

When the article was completed, students worked on Getting to the Heart of the Matter worksheet and solved the problems.

Tip: Some students will complete this in  30 minutes and then can move to the next part. Those who are behind, will not complete the next section of the lesson just yet, and that is ok because it becomes independent work or homework.

*This lesson can be spread out over two days, depending on the classroom needs.


Animal Hearts

20 minutes

Animal Tickers PDF


In Part 2 students read this short article about animal hearts and then completed the worksheet  attached and made a graph using graph paper.  I warned them that they needed to reason about how they would scale their graph and compare the numbers to do so.Setting up the Graph

Again, this became an independent work for those moving ahead. It keeps the class rolling! For those who didn't quite make it to this section, I met and explained how to scale the graph. We discussed the title and how the axis would be labeled.

Several students took the graphing part home to finish. I met with just three to start up their graph. So, this told me that this lesson was manageable as  I had designed it.

Homework: Pick a Heart Healthy Recipe! Applying math to real world skills.

15 minutes

At this point, I assessed where each of my students were in this independent/cooperative learning and practice  was. This section of the lesson is meant to apply what they learned from the warm up video to real world and self connection. Their assignment is to pick a recipe that they think they would like from this American Heart Association site.

I assigned this for homework. I gave coupons out for anyone who took the recipe and tried it at home. They had to take photos on their iPad of them preparing and eating it. They could create an Educreations Video showing their dinner. Of course they would only prepare the amount they needed for their family.


Instructions: You are having a dinner for three times as many people as the recipe calls for.

1. How do you adjust the recipe so there is enough?

Write the adjusted ingredients in order on your paper.

Ooops! You just got a text! Half of your company is stuck in the snow! They can't make it!

2. You have already figured out your recipe for three times as many, now you only need half of that!

Adjust your recipe again and write it correctly next to your original adjustment.

Explain how you were able to calculate the correct amount for your company.