EL Support Lesson

Addition Problem Solving

Can be used alone or as an EL support lesson for the **One Fish, Two Fish** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the One Fish, Two Fish lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the One Fish, Two Fish lesson plan.

Students will be able to solve addition story problems within 10.


Students will be able to describe strategies to solve addition story problems using manipulatives and partner support.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students together for the start of the lesson.
  • Tell students the following problem, "I love flowers! The other day I saw eight tulips and two roses were blooming in my yard. How many flowers did I see in all?"
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner to share what is known in the problem before discussing solutions. Choose students to describe what is known: 1) There were eight tulips. 2) There were two roses.
  • Call on students to share different approaches to solve the problem. Rephrase student thinking and strategies as needed.
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that one strategy to use when solving a story problem is to use drawings. Demonstrate by first drawing a yard with eight flowers, then draw the remaining two flowers.
  • Model how to count the first eight flowers and then count on to add the remaining six flowers, "Nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14."
  • Think aloud, "Yes, the picture shows the eight tulips and the two roses."
  • Reflect, "I know that eight plus six equals 14."
  • Write the equation under the picture and say, "I am writing an equation to go with my problem. Remember an equation is another way to show a math problem."
  • Review parts of an equation using the Vocabulary Cards. Say, "The numbers to add together are called the addends and the total number is called the sum, this is called a plus sign and this is called an equal sign."
  • Have the students repeat the words after you while making hand motions that match (e.g., a plus sign with their arms).
  • Display the Vocabulary Cards on a classroom anchor chart for reference.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will now work together to solve another problem. Remind students that they can choose to use objects, draw pictures or write equations to solve the problem.
  • Write the following problem on the board along with an accompanying picture. For example, "I have five buttons. My friend gives me six more. How many buttons do I have?"
  • Review problem solving steps as a group:
    • Listen to the problem and think about the different parts.
    • Sketch the two number parts needed to solve the problem.
    • Write an equation to go with your sketch.
  • Read the problem again and this time ask students to turn and talk to share how to solve the problem.
  • Pass out personal whiteboards and markers for students to use.
  • Call on pairs to share different approaches to solving the problem. Highlight student thinking and strategies as needed.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to create their own story problem. They should draw a picture and write an equation to go with their problem. Then, they will tell their partner the story, trade problems with their partner, and solve the equation.
  • Model the steps using a student as your partner.
  • Pair students together and pass out materials (unlined paper, pencils, manipulatives).


  • Review number names in English from 1-20, and display a class anchor chart that includes both numerals and number names.
  • Allow students to count aloud in their home language (L1).
  • Partner students who speak the same home language (L1), and allow them to share thinking in their home language (L1).
  • Design and solve problems in a teacher-led small group.


  • Ask students to explain the steps to solve a story problem in their own words.
  • Challenge students to share how they were able to solve a problem using a number sentence or addition strategy.
(5 minutes)
  • Rotate as students work in pairs to assess whether students are able to solve the problems. Prompt students to explain how they knew the sum.
  • Work with individual students to address any errors or misconceptions. Check that students are accurately counting and are able to understand the parts of the problem. Notice at what point they become confused. Provide students an opportunity to self correct before providing an answer.
  • Collect work samples to check strategies students use to solve equations.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather students together to close the lesson.
  • Ask students to give you a thumbs up if they enjoyed creating and solving story problems with their partner.
  • Write the sentence frame, "I did/did not like creating a story problem because ____." and read it aloud. Tell students to share their opinion, or what they thought, of the activity with their partner.
  • Close by sharing a story problem for the group to solve collaboratively.

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