September 21, 2015
by Elizabeth S. Tyree

Lesson plan

Missing Numbers: Math Review

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Strategies to Identify What's Missing pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Strategies to Identify What's Missing pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify missing numbers in an equation.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that today they will be reviewing their math facts while completing fun puzzles.
  • Ask the students to stand next to their desk for a brain warm up exercise.
  • Play a quick game of Math Around the World: a game in which two students stand at a desk, and the caller (usually the teacher) gives them a math question. The student who answers correctly and with the fastest time moves to the next desk, and the student with the incorrect or slowest answer sits down.
(10 minutes)
  • Project the first puzzle from the Math Puzzle Madness worksheet on the document camera, or draw the puzzle on the board.
  • Go over the instructions with the class, and activate prior knowledge by asking questions about the worksheet. For example:
    • Each row and column is a math equation. Who can tell me what an equation is?
    • It says to multiply and divide before adding and subtracting. Can anyone explain why?
  • Clarify any misconceptions and make sure students are comfortable with math processes and vocabulary throughout the lesson.
  • Discuss the first puzzle equation as a class. Explain your thought process aloud as you record numbers in the boxes of the puzzle.
(20 minutes)
  • Have students complete the second puzzle on the Math Puzzle Madness worksheet. Have them take out their whiteboards to show their work. Continue asking questions and filling in the puzzle that is either projected or written on the board. Invite students to share their thoughts, defending their answers and discussing whether they agree or disagree with their peers' explanations.
  • Divide the class into small groups and display the third puzzle on the Math Puzzle Madness worksheet. Instruct them to fill in the puzzle together and be prepared to explain their answers.
  • Go over the group work as a class and provide feedback and clarification, as needed.
(30 minutes)
  • Pass out the Tricky Math Puzzles worksheet to each individual and instruct them to complete the puzzles independently.


  • For advanced students, allow them to do more difficult missing number worksheets and possibly branch out into Sudoku or Ken Ken puzzles.


  • For students in need of support, allow them to work in small groups to complete the worksheets. Students in need of support can also greatly benefit from one-on-one working time with the teacher or with an advanced student for peer tutoring.
(15 minutes)
  • Student participation can be a quick form of active assessment.
  • Students will turn in worksheets to be graded for assessment.
(10 minutes)
  • See if any students have questions about the activity.
  • Ask reflection questions. Examples include: Did anyone discover something about equations while working on this activity? Do you use math outside of class?

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