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EL Support Lesson
Thinking Deeply About Word Problems
Students will be able to apply word problem strategies to solve problems using addition, subtraction, or both operations.
Students will be able to analyze addition and subtraction word problems using a graphic organizer.
- Facilitate a think-pair-share in which students think about what is easy and difficult about solving word problems. Have them turn and talk to a partner, and then share out as a class. Provide sentence stems to support conversation.
- Tell learners that they'll be learning about a new tool and strategy they can use to help them understand what the word problem is asking. Read aloud the student-friendly language objective and have students repeat it aloud.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(7 minutes)
- Tell learners that there are some key vocabulary terms they need to learn and utilize throughout today's lesson so that they can speak about what they are doing.
- Display each Vocabulary Card individually, and invite a student to read the word aloud. Call on another student to read aloud the definition. Then, have another student explain how the image is an appropriate fit for the word and definition.
- Put all the cards away except the cards for the words add and subtract. Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about related words. Ask, "What other words come up when you are solving a problem or talking about adding/subtracting?" Provide a sentence frame to support student conversation, such as "The word ____ comes up when talking about ____."
- Record student responses on the board and tell the class that they can look to the list as a reference when they are explaining their thinking about adding and subtracting throughout today's lesson.
- Draw a T-chart on the board and tell students that this is the graphic organizer that is going to help them better understand word problems in today's lesson. Label the left side of the T-chart as "Values" and the right side as "Units." Explain that the Values side includes the amounts from the word problem, and the Units side includes the meaning of the values.
Guided Practice(8 minutes)
- Model analyzing a word problem with the Values/Units Chart using the following word problem: "Han bought 5 ice cream cones, 14 sugar cookies and 7 gingerbread cookies. How many more cookies will he need to buy if he wants 2 dozen cookies?"
- Follow the process below of reading the word problem three times with a different focus each time.
- 1 - Read through the word problem and underline any words and phrases that represent a known or unknown value or amount. List these numbers, unknowns, and variables in the left column of the graphic organizer. Write the following information on the left side of the Values/Units Chart: 5, 14, 7, 24, C.
- 2 - Read the problem a second time, and record the Units in the right column to show the meaning of the values. Write the following information on the Values/Units Chart: 5 - number of ice cream cones, 14 - number of sugar cookies, 7 - number of gingerbread cookies, 24 - amount of cookies in a dozen, C - how many more cookies are needed. Point out that the number of ice cream cones is irrelevant to this problem and it can be crossed off.
- 3 - Read the problem a third time, and think aloud about how to create a mathematical expression using only the right column in the chart. (24 - 14 - 7 = C) Explain how you know what operations to use as you create the expression.
- Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about any other possible mathematical expressions they could create using the Values/Units Chart. (e.g., 14 + 7 = 21, 24 - 21 = C)
- Invite students to participate in the process for another word problem together as a class. Guide them through the steps and have them record the Values/Units Charts on their whiteboards. Provide sentence stems/frames to support student conversation, such as:
- I put ____ in the Values/Units column because ____.
- I know that this information goes in this column because ____.
Group work time(10 minutes)
- Divide the class into small groups and give each group a sheet of blank construction paper, a marker, and one of the word problems cut out from the Word Problems: Addition and Subtraction worksheet.
- Instruct one member from each group to glue the word problem onto the construction paper and draw a T-chart below it to serve as the Values/Units Chart.
- Direct groups to work together to complete the graphic organizer as it pertains to their word problem. Then, have them show their work and solve the problem. While one person serves as the scribe for the group, others should also work the problem out on their whiteboard so they are actively engaged and participating.
- Write the following directions on the board to support groups' processes:
- 1 - Read through the word problem and underline any words and phrases that represent a known or unknown value or amount. List these numbers, unknowns, and variables in the left column of the graphic organizer.
- 2 - Read the problem a second time, and record the Units in the right column to show the meaning of the values.
- 3 - Read the problem a third time, and think aloud about how to create a mathematical expression using only the right column in the chart.
- 4 - Solve the expression.
Additional EL adaptations
- Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
- Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
- Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.
- Group students intentionally based on academic and language needs.
- Give students a set of their own Vocabulary Cards to reference throughout the lesson. Include blank cards so they can make new cards for any new vocabulary they encounter.
- Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
- Encourage students to answer questions and participate in discussions without referring to the sentence stems or frames for support.
- Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
- Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
- Put students in mixed ability groups so they can offer explanations and provide feedback to beginning ELs when appropriate.
- Have groups present their problem and their values/units chart. Support them with sentence stems/frames when needed, and ask questions to prompt further explanation.
- Utilize teacher observations throughout the group work time to serve as a formative assessment of students' language and mathematical proficiency in regards to word problems.
Review and closing(3 minutes)
- Ask students to think about the answer to the following question: How did this graphic organizer help you begin to solve word problems? Provide sentence stems/frames for students to choose from as they respond to a partner:
- This graphic organizer helped me ____.
- This graphic organizer did not help me ____.
- I'm still unclear about this graphic organizer because ____.