Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Change Unknown Word Problems - Section 1: Introduction/Hook


In this lesson, I use pictures to help students understand a word problem.  In change unknown word problems, it is often difficult for students to understand the "action" in the problem and they write inaccurate number sentences or simply add the two numbers since they can't visualize the problem.  When students draw a picture they are able to  more concretely understand the problem and are more likely to write an accurate number sentence. 

At the beginning of the school year, I encourage students to draw a picture for all of their problems so that they get used to concretely illustrating a problem before writing a number sentence.  By the end of the year, students who still need this tool use it, while others who have a deeper conceptual understanding simply visualize the problem in their head and don't draw pictures.  

When introducing a new skill like change unknown problems, I go back to drawing pictures because it helps students to develop a conceptual understanding of what a change unknown problem is and how to write an appropriate number sentence. 

  Drawing pictures to explain a word problem
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Drawing pictures to explain a word problem
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Change Unknown Word Problems

Unit 6: Three-Digit Addition and Subtraction
Lesson 11 of 13

Objective: SWBAT solve change unknown word problems using addition and subtraction strategies.

Big Idea: Students identify, develop, use, and share their own strategies for solving change unknown word problems.

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11 teachers like this lesson
Math, Differentiation, Number Sense and Operations, addition, subtraction, place value strategies
  55 minutes
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