One Step at a Time

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SWBAT solve multi-step problems by determining what information is necessary.

Big Idea

Multi-step problems require additional skills in problem solving.


5 minutes

Students are making mistakes solving multistep problems involving all 4 operations. Students will solve 1 or 2 steps in the problem but fail to answer the question or complete all of the necessary steps. Today’s lesson is designed to break apart each piece of information with a multistep problem in order to arrive at the correct solution.

Something I have noticed when we problem solve like experts is we show all of our work, but sometimes the problem can be tricky and we might miss a step. It happens to the best of us! Today we are going to talk a few ways that experts can solve all of the steps in the problem in order to answer the question they’re asking us.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Take a look at this first question. We will read it once all the way through before we begin pulling out information. (We read it aloud together.)  Now, what’s the first piece of information I have? Let’s pull it out of the question.

We continue this discussion while we re-read the question again, pulling out necessary information. The more ways that I can help students see and interpret questions, the more successful they will become at making sense of them (MP1). We complete question 1 together, and I emphasize re-stating the question today. I do this because students often focus so much on the information they begin with that they fail to return to the question to answer what the question is really asking them to do.

Group Work

30 minutes

Students work together at their table groups to begin working on the next three questions. I chose to only give four questions so that the students can spend as much time as necessary to discuss what information they need and to determine what the question is really asking them to do (MP3).


5 minutes

I noticed that many of you spent a lot of time discussing with your team what information you needed from each question. What did you guys notice? How did you make sure you had every step covered? And how did you make sure you went back and answered the question.