Start! Change! Result! A Strategy to understand solving word problems.

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SWBAT solve word problems by applying strategies that help them understand the meaning of the problem so that they can then set up and solve equations.

Big Idea

Use the Start, Change & Result strategy and "Math Mountains" to help students understand how to set up and solve equations that are hidden in word problems.

The Hook: Math Power is About Strategies!

7 minutes

I brought up the Start Change Result SB Class File and began with the first word problem. I used this file throughout the lesson.

 This two step word higher level word problem would be challenging without strategies, but I let them try to figure this problem out in partners for about 5-7 minutes. I roved around the room, listening to the different expressions of frustration. When time was up they shared several different answers, all of which were sort of logical, but not accurate. They were missing the second step in most cases.

 I asked  the question: How would you like to learn a new strategy that will help you understand what is going on in the problem and find equations that work? 

  I told them that the word problem they just worked on has multiple steps to solve it. I explained that CCSS expect them to master solving multi-step story problems, or "more than one" step word problems, they  need to learn to pull problems apart in a systematic way so that it makes sense. This has to be done before we can solve any problem.

(This explanation is supporting Math Practice Standard 1 as I help them learn to make sense of problems using a logical strategy and give them a way to think about problem solving. I am hoping that it prevents them from being bogged down in the language of multi-step problems and gives them a sense of math power to sort it out. So I told them that!)

I told them "Math Power" comes from strategies!

What is a "Situation Equation?"

10 minutes

Following the SB File p. 2 and keeping in the forefront of my mind Practice Standard 1 and how it will help students make sense of word problems in the future,I started this lesson by writing " situation" and "solution" on the  white board next to my SB. These two words will help my students think about the concept that a word problem is a "situation" and can be played out in our heads, just like a movie. The situation is going to have to be solved, just like our situations in life sometimes need to be solved.

Next, my goal was to get them to understand that a situation can be expressed in a "situation equation". They needed to learn how to glean out the information, create an equation with a variable and solve for the unknown. I continued on with the SB file and guided them through the example word problems, teaching them that the situation equation can sometimes also be the solution equation. We continued as I gradually pushed them to independent practice.

 We filled out the KWS chart together on the SB and kept going page by page together through the problem about the Skylanders. I guided them through setting up the Start, Change and Result.

It made it easier to solve it by putting "S" under the numbers we start with.

As we worked this SB lesson together, they worked it in their notebooks. We got ready to practice independently.



Getting them to practice it!

20 minutes

We turned to page 7 on the SB file in order to practice some word problems independently in their notebooks. In order to be successful in mastering solving multi-step word problems later, I have discovered that using simple problems first is the best way to go. The numbers can be simple and some students will probably wonder why you gave them story problems they can solve in their head!

I told them that as they solved, I expected the following things to be shown in their work.

1. KWS Chart: A list of what they know from the situation and what they need to know and be able to explain it. Start Change Result Chart

2. A situation equation formed from turning the TV on in their head and envisioning what is going on.

3. A solution equation with a solution. This Educreations Video gives you an idea of how their notebooks looked from their practice.

Students worked independently, but were allowed to talk with neighbors about problems, or ideas if a person had trouble. I roved the classroom and talked with them as they solved them.

One group finished early and I showed them word problems in our math textbook that were a little more challenging involving up to 4 digit addition word problems.


Sharing of Solutions. Explanations of Thinking.

15 minutes

When they  were done, I had the groups present their problems and explain how they solved them.This is a great way to see how they have grasped it.

I assigned 5 problems from  Level E C.11 ( fourth grade level) to solve for homework. These addition problems added up to four digits. I told them that I needed to see KWL Charts and Start, Change, Result equations. I focused on practicing with addition problems and told them that they would be all addition. That way, they could focus on setting up their Start, Change, Result strategy without having to worry about determining the sign. I just thought for their first practice that this was a better choice. On, there are other choices for word problems which easily fit into any classroom situation. Simply look at D, E or F levels for word problems to differentiate as needed.