Springtime Story Teller

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SWBAT write a story problem to match a given equation.

Big Idea

Incorporate creative writing and critical thinking in this lesson on missing parts!

Objective & Hook

5 minutes

Review: What have we already learned?

We have worked on creating a matching number sentence and matching number sentences to stories this week. Today we are going to start with the number sentence and create a story to match!

Connect: Why does this matter?

This lesson is going to show exactly what you know about missing parts. If you can create a story about it, then you really understand it!


Your thinking job is: What story problem can I write to match what happened in this number sentence?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

To build my student's oral vocabulary, I am going to center this whole lesson around "spring words." One of the ways research shows that students become better readers and writers is through constant practice with new vocabulary. I'll have Spring Words projected onto my promethean board, which you can get for free from Jennifer Winter's TPT store!

Present problem: 12 - _____ = 10

Teach process: I need to make my story problem all about one spring word-I'll choose ladybug. I need to say what happened first, next and last and then ask a question. I have to make each part of my story match my number sentence.

Story Problem Frame on chart paper:

  • First-
  • Next-
  • Last-
  • Question-

Guiding Questions: Many of these questions I'll do in partners so all students get a chance to practice.

  • What number is first in this story problem? First there were 12 ladybugs. 
  • Next what happened? Make sure students emphasize that SOME went away. The problem can't tell us the answer. I am going to highlight the word SOME in my story problem with a highlighter to make it pop. Next some of the ladybugs flew away.
  • What was last? Last there were 10 ladybugs still on the leaf.
  • The question asks about the part that is missing. Will I write "How many ladybugs do I have in all?" What question matches this problem?

Partner talk: Reread the problem to your partner. What is the answer to our question? 

Student Share

15 minutes

Present Problem: ______ - 3 = 8

We are all going to make this problem about ladybugs also.

Planning Questions: Discuss in partners. 

  • What happened first in this problem?
  • What happened next? Did more ladybugs come or did they go away?
  • What happened last?

Student Work Time: Students will get 5 minutes to write a problem that matches and solve it if they have time.

  • The student copy of this work has the sentence frames on it to help students structure their story problem. This is a scaffold so they remember each part (particularly the question!).

Student Share: I'll share a problem with the whole class. 

Guiding Questions:

  • Where is this blank in my problem?
  • Where is the -3 in my problem?
  • Where is the =8 in my problem?
  • What question matches this story?

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students each need a copy of the Spring Vocabulary List. (Remember, you can get this for free from Jennifer Winter's TPT Store!)

This activity is differentiated based on number size. Students create a little story problem foldable booklet. Each page has another number sentence that students write a spring related story problem to match. 

  • Group A, Intervention: Numbers to 12
  • Group B, Right on Track: Numbers to 20
  • Group C, Extension: Numbers to 100

Spring Story Problem Mini Booklets.pptx are attached! Once students solve, they can fold them to make a little 4 page booklet.


5 minutes

Students bring their booklets to the rug and get to share one problem with other students. This will help them practice the speaking and listening portion of the Common Core.

I will do an inner/outer circle for this activity. The outer circle doesn't move, they stay seated. That group is the first sharer. After both partners share, the inner circle moves to the right and shares to the next person in the outer circle. The process continues for a few turns so each person gets to share multiple times.