Breaking Apart Problems

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SWBAT break apart multi-step word problems in order to solve each step and arrive at a solution.

Big Idea

Problem solving is not a race- it takes time to solve multi-step problems.

Intro and Guided Example

15 minutes

Something I have noticed as you all have become stronger math experts is that you are looking for information, clues and questions within problems. That is something that can be so tough when you have to look for more than 1 step! Today we are going to focus on how we break a problem apart into smaller pieces so that solving it becomes more clear.

Who can read this problem to me? What is the first thing they’re telling me? Can we break that apart into step 1? Ok, what’s next? What should I do here? Let’s break that apart into step 2. And what about after that? There’s our step 3. And what’s last? That’s right—FINALLY our question! Can you imagine if we had just circled key information, circled numbers and had only done 1 step? It’s going to take a lot of focus and hard work to solve all of these steps.

Do we all solve problems the exact same way? Who here draws a picture models? What about using our skip counting songs? Is one way more correct than the other? NO! We all have tools that we use that work best for us and today we are going to get to see all of that excellent thinking.

Activity and Presentation

40 minutes

When you return to your seats you’re going to need to read your problem and make decisions as group and how many steps you have and how to break apart the problem. Once you’ve agreed to the pieces of your problem, cut out each step and glue it to your chart paper, just like my example here.

Since we know that there is never just one way to solve a problem or show our work, you’ll show each step as many ways as you can think of. When your work is complete, make sure you write down how your group arrived at your solution and what steps you took to get there. You’ll be presenting your work for all of us to see, so make sure it’s nice and neat and organized. We always want to create work that we’re proud of!