Lesson Plan

How'd You Get That Many?

Drawing on various problem solving techniques, students will challenge themselves to solve word problems involving three whole numbers. Problem solving, critical thinking, and real life applications? This lesson has it all.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Three Addend Word Problems pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Three Addend Word Problems pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to solve addition word problems with three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
How’d You Get That Many?
  • Call students together.
  • Ask students to think about a time when they have needed to use addition, or answer an addition question, in their everyday lives. Students may suggest times they have counted something, spent money, or cooked food.
  • Ask students how they knew that they needed to use addition in these situations.
  • Discuss and guide students to the fact that addition is used when you combine things together.
  • Tell students that today they will be looking at real life examples of problems requiring addition. They will know that they need to use addition, because there will be groups of things that need to be joined together. They may also notice certain words like “more,” “added,” and “plus,” which indicate addition in word problems. The questions asked may be about “totals” and the number “altogether,” which is another indicator of an addition problem.


  • Display the sentence frame, "I used addition to ________." As students suggest ways they have used addition, add ideas to the chart. Tell students to give a thumbs up if they have used addition in a similar way.


  • Tell students to turn and talk to a partner to describe a time they have used addition before sharing with the entire class.