Lesson plan

It's Time to Celebrate the Chinese New Year!

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is fun for family and friends! Use this lesson to teach your students some of the holiday's traditions and events as they practice solving word problems, which involve time and all four math operations.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve word problems.

(15 minutes)
  • Ask students how they celebrate the New Year in their culture. Explain to students that each culture has different traditions.
  • Call students together and read Chelsea's Chinese New Year.
  • Ask comprehension questions during the read aloud to engage students.
  • After reading, ask students to recall all the ways people celebrate the Chinese New Year.
  • Record answers on a chart for students to see.
  • Tell students that today they are going to solve a series of word problems about a boy named Max who is celebrating the Chinese New Year with his family.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that the math problems they will work on today follow the story of a kid on the night he and his family are celebrating the Chinese New Year.
  • Tell students that you will model solving one word problem about a girl named Sarah's Chinese New Year celebration with her family. The class will help you solve the next problem in the story about Sarah's celebration.
  • Display the following problem on the document camera so students can see it:

    • Sarah and her family are attending a Chinese New Year celebration at her cousin's house. The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. It is now 6:10 p.m. How many minutes does Sarah have until she and her family need to be at their cousin's house?
  • Think aloud about the strategy you used to solve the problem. Explain that you used subtraction as you figured out the time remaining until Sarah and her family needed to be at the festival.
  • Write your answer below the word problem.
  • Explain to students that they will be solving the next problem in the story about Sarah's celebratory night. Tell students that the answer to the problem you just solved is important for them. They will use your answer as part of their word problem.
(10 minutes)
  • Divide students into partnerships, and give each student their own half-sheet of computer paper on which to show their work.
  • Display the following problem on the document camera so students can see it:

    • Sarah's mom is bringing spring rolls to the celebration. It takes 2 minutes to make each spring roll. In the time until the party starts, how many spring rolls can she make?
  • Remind students to show their work on their paper. Partners do not have to use the same strategy, but they should be discussing their processes of how they can arrive at the answer.
  • Share out as a class.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out a copy of the Chinese New Year Celebration Word Problems worksheet to each student.
  • Explain to students that they will be solving word problems about Max's Chinese New Year celebration. Just as in the two examples done by the teacher and in partners, these problems are dependent upon each other.
  • Complete the first example with the class.
  • Remind students of expectations during independent work time.
  • Circulate to monitor students, stopping and prompting students to discuss their thought process and strategy.

Support: Providing a one-on-one 'support at the back table' can help build confidence. Prompt these students with questions to get them started on the problems, and assist only when they are stuck. Also, support these students by allowing them to use manipulatives.

Enrichment: Have students write their own word problems in the same format as the worksheet. Challenge these students to write word problems that are dependent on the previous problem's answer so as to create a story.

(5 minutes)
  • Collect independent work to serve as a check for understanding.
  • Students will complete an Exit Slip by writing answers on a post-it note or index card.
  • Display the Exit Slip question on the document camera:
    • Sarah normally goes to bed at 9:00 p.m., but the party did not end until 10:00 p.m. She got home and went straight to bed at 10:15 p.m. How late was Sarah up on the night of the Chinese New Year celebration?
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students how their New Year traditions are similar or different from those practiced in the Chinese New Year.
  • Discuss answers as a class.
  • Ask students how math played a roll in Max's night on the worksheet as he was celebrating the Chinese New Year with his family.
  • Discuss answers as a class.

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