Seasonal story problems are fun, and motivate kids to think critically. Here’s how you and your child can work together to craft your own story problems from scratch. Remember, every good story problem shows an incomplete number sentence and ends with a question.
Draw a background on your orange paper. Ideas to consider are: graveyard, haunted house, crumbling wall, or pumpkin patch. Remember to draw a full moon!
Move your Halloween characters around and start to imagine your story problem. Stumped for ideas? Here are some examples:
There were two pumpkins sitting on the wall. Three more joined them. How many pumpkins were altogether? Answer: 2+3 = ?
A ghost went trick-or-treating with a witch and two mummies. One of the mummies had to go home early. How many trick-or-treaters were left? Answer: 1+1+2-1=?
A mummy walked through a graveyard and four witches rose from a grave. How many were there altogether? Answer: 1+4=?
Write the story problem on the lines. Use neat handwriting. Be sure to give all the information the reader needs to solve the problem. End with a question.
Write the answer out in a number sentence. Make a trap door by cutting a corner of the index card to hide the answer. Draw a question mark on the trap door.
Find someone to solve your problem.
Make another one!
Carrie Birgbauer, M.A. taught for nine years in private elementary schools throughout the Bay Area. She earned a Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development multiple subject teaching credential and master's degree in Educational Technology from the University of San Francisco.