This lesson begins with establishing the steps for solving word problems. It is important for my students to have a sequence and specific steps to follow to solve word problems. This allows for the students to look at the process rather than just jumping to an immediate answer, and possibly missing key information and steps.
Creating a plan for word problems includes:
The last step is critical for the Common Core Standards, and one that we need as teachers so that we can correctly assess student work. The Introduction to the CC Math Standards states:
These standards define what students should understand and be able to do in their study of mathematics. But asking a student to understand something also means asking a teacher to assess whether the student has understood it. But what does mathematical understanding look like? One way for teachers to do that is to ask the student to justify, in a way that is appropriate to the student’s mathematical maturity, why a particular mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes from.
The students work in partners on the six steps addressed in the planning section of the lesson. Students work independently during this time with limited intervention by me at this time so that they work through the problem and apply the steps.
To end the lesson I have the students share their thinking with another group of students to compare their strategies. I have them focus on the explanation so that the students can critique the work of others and implement the Common Core Math Practice of constructing an argument and critique the reasoning of others. I create the groups with the intent of changing the working dynamic, placing students with those they don't normally work with. These presentations are very informal, and if/as I find that students needs more assistance or direction, I change the structure to a whole group.