Writing and Solving Number Stories

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SWBAT use class data to write and solve number stories.

Big Idea

We can apply math to almost every part of the day and make math have a purpose for students.

Creating the Word Problems

20 minutes

Yesterday, we gathered data outside on the number of points per leaf and the number of leaves per branch for different trees and bushes we found outside.  Today, I start by demonstrating how to create a word problem from the data on these graphs. I find one student's data on both graphs and note how many points on the leaf that child found and how many leaves that same child had on a branch. I then ask how many points in all? I let students solve my math problem. 

The data that students gathered has 1 - 10 points on a leaf, and 1 - 5 leaves on a branch. The numbers are small, but because I am expecting students to need to use repeated addition such as 10 points on a leaf and 5 leaves on a branch would mean adding 10 5 times, the numbers do not need to be double digit numbers. My focus for this lesson is on writing the word problem and knowing how to go about solving a problem that requires repeated addition. I am hoping that students will not try to add the10 points to the 5 leaves to get 15, but rather understand what is being asked in the problem. 

Next I hand them a word problem form. I ask them to write 2 word problems, one on each side. We talk about what a word problem needs. I ask students if they know what a word problem needs. I take volunteers and I list their suggestions on the board for students to refer back to. I am looking for the information from the data(the story part such as I have a branch with 3 leaves and each leaf has 3 points), a question (how many points in all), a number sentence (3 + 3 + 3) and a solution (9). Students may make other suggestions such as upper case letters, question marks, numbers, etc. I list these as well if they are appropriate. If they suggest something not appropriate (such as a number grid) I might tell students that this is a tool someone might use to solve the problem but it is not part of the problem. The writing of the problem supports MP1 "make sense of problems and persevere in solving them," because students have to make a sensible problem from the data and also find the solution to their own problems.

I allow students to come up closer to the graphs of leaves and points that we created in yesterday's lesson if they need to, to look at one person's data from both graphs, or to look for connections from groups of the data. 

I give students time to write and solve their own problems.


15 minutes
  1. In order to give everyone a chance to solve a problem, I ask students to partner up and share their word problem with a partner. Each partner gets to share and solve 1 problem. I circulate around the room listening to the sharing and solving of problems.

    At the end of the sharing time, I ask for 2 volunteers to share out one of their problems with everyone. I try to pick different types of problems based on what I had noticed as I circulated around the room during partner share. 

    Students work to solve these 2 problems and share solutions. The students who created these 2 problems have to solve each other's problems, and then they can circulate around the room to help others figure out their problems.