EL Support Lesson
Word Problem Components
Students will be able to create and solve word problems.
Students will be able to analyze the meaning of word problems and plan to solve them using a graphic organizer.
- Give students an example word problem to talk through. For example, "Susanna has 75 cents to spend on school supplies. She spent 30 cents on a new eraser and 20 cents on a mechanical pencil. How much money does Susanna have left?" Write the word problem on the board and use real life objects or pictures to support student understanding of the problem.
- Instruct students to talk to a partner about what they know based on reading the word problem. Listen to conversations and note the language students use.
- Tell the class that today's lesson focuses on looking at the components of word problems to help us make sure we understand them.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Read aloud the student-friendly Language Objective and have students repeat it aloud. Tell them that there are some important words they'll need to learn and use throughout today's lesson as they discuss the components of word problems. Explain that it is important to work on word problem comprehension to make sure we understand so we can determine how to solve a problem.
- Distribute a copy of the Glossary to each student and introduce the tiered words by displaying the Vocabulary Cards on the document camera. Ask students to talk to a partner about an example of each word. Display a sentence frame to support student conversation. For example, "An example of ____ is ____."
- Tell students that you have a tool for them to use as they work through word problems. Admit that sometimes word problems can be confusing, especially when they have several numbers or require us to use more than one operation or step.
- Display a copy of the Word Problem Comprehension Chart on the document camera. Share that this chart will help them look at the word problem in small steps, which will help them make sure they understand what it is asking. Then, they can create a plan. Emphasize that it is important to reread word problems a few times to make sure we get all the important information.
- Write the following word problem on the board: "Becky had 80 cents. She spent 10 cents on a piece of candy for herself, and she spent 35 cents on a pen for her mom. How much money does Becky have left?"
- Explain the process that you will take as you read the problem three times, each with a different focus. Point out that each read will help you figure out what the word problem is asking. After each read aloud, you will fill in parts of the graphic organizer.
- 1 - Read aloud the problem with the goal of comprehension. Say, "I'm going to read this word problem aloud and focus only on the words. I'm going to ignore the numbers." Jot notes in the first section of the graphic organizer using words and pictures. Ask students to share any unfamiliar words they wish to go over during this step of the process.
- 2 - Read the problem aloud again with the goal of analyzing language. Say, "This time, I'm going to focus on what words are important. I need to figure out which operation to use, so which words are going to give me clues about that?" Underline or highlight keywords in the word problem that point to addition and subtraction, and record notes in the center of the chart. Think aloud about the relationship between the operations to clarify for students, if needed.
- 3 - Read the problem for a third time with the goal of brainstorming solutions. Say, "Now that I understand the word problem and what it is asking me to do, I need to come up with a plan. How am I going to solve this problem?" Jot down mathematical expressions in the right column of the graphic organizer. (e.g., 80 - 10 - 35)
- Show students how to solve the problem on the board. Then, write an answer in a complete sentence. For example, "Becky has 35 cents leftover."
Guided Practice(8 minutes)
- Give each student their own copy of the Word Problem Comprehension Chart worksheet, and ask them to restate the purpose of each of the sections on the graphic organizer. Remind them about the process for how to make sure we understand the word problem.
- Display the following word problem and tell them that they will work together as a class to complete the graphic organizer with information that will help us make sure we all comprehend: "Roman has 16 dollars. He wants to spend four dollars on a toy for his little brother, and three dollars on a book for his older sister. How much money will he have left for the other gifts he wants to give?"
- Guide the class through reading the problem three times aloud. Write the following information on a piece of chart paper or on the board for students to reference as they follow the steps:
- 1 - Read aloud the problem with the goal of comprehension. (What do the words say? What is happening in this problem?)
- 2 - Read the problem aloud again with the goal of analyzing language. (What words help me figure out the operation(s) to use?)
- 3 - Read the problem for a third time with the goal of brainstorming solutions. (What is the plan for solving this problem?)
- Provide sentence stems for students to use for each section as they share their thoughts.
- Instruct students to turn and talk to a partner about the answer to the problem. Call on volunteers to share the answer using a complete sentence. Provide a sentence frame for students to share. For example, "Roman has ____ left over to spend on the other gifts that he wants to give."
Group work time(12 minutes)
- Divide the class into small groups of 3-4 students. Tell them that they will each receive a word problem to work on, and that they will explain their process ot the rest of the class. Remind them to use the Word Problem Comprehension Chart to write down their notes, and share that they will be able to reference their notes while they explain their process to the class.
- Give each group one of the following word problems:
- Cynthia earned $20 for helping her neighbors. If she spent $4 on replacing a library book and $9 on a new pair of gloves, does she have enough money left to buy shoes that cost $16?
- Gino brought $10 for lunch. He bought a sandwich for $3 and a fruit cup for $2. How much lunch money does he have left?
- Ricky got $15 for his birthday this year. He also has $8 for his allowance. He wants to buy a scooter for $35. How much more money does Ricky need to save so he can buy the scooter?
- Pearl sold lemonade and made $12. She raked her neighbors leaves and earned $11. She mopped the floors in her grandma's house and earned $6. How much money does Pearl have?
- Remind students to reference the list of steps on the chart paper or on the board that they will take as they complete the exercise.
- Circulate and support them as they follow the process, discuss, and complete the graphic organizer.
- Have groups share their problem and graphic organizers with the rest of the class.
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.
- Show visuals in order to support comprehension of the initial context of the word problems.
- Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
- Have students describe their math processes without relying on sentence stems/frames.
- 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.
- Tell students that they will now complete the final row of their Word Problem Comprehension Chart on their own with a new word problem.
- Display the following word problem: "Christa had $20 to spend. She bought a new notebook for $8. She also bought new pens and some stickers for $6. How much money does she have left?"
- Circulate and provide support and feedback, as needed.
- Utilize the students' completed Word Problem Comprehension Chart as a formative assessment of their proficiency with the strategy.
Review and closing(2 minutes)
- Go over the answer to the question asked in the Assessment portion of the lesson. Call on a student to share their answer.
- Ask students to evaluate the strategy of reading a word problem three times with a different focus each time. Ask, "Which part of the strategy is the most important part of the process?" Provide a sentence frame to support student answers. For example, "The most important part of the process is ____ because ____."
- Remind the class that good mathematicians read word problems a few times to make sure they understand what the problem is asking. When they comprehend the problem, they are able to solve it and find an answer.