Lesson plan

Organizing Word Problems

Help students solve fraction word problems with a graphic organizer! This lesson addresses Common Core standards while teaching useful skills for standardized test taking.
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Students will be able to solve fraction word problem by determining important numbers, unimportant numbers, and the operation needed.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to raise their hand if they think solving word problems is challenging.
  • Have students share why solving word problems can be difficult.
  • Explain that today, students will be using a graphic organizer to help them solve word problems. This graphic organizer will make a word problem seem more simple and easier to solve.
  • Ask students what other graphic organizers they've used to help them organize information.
(5 minutes)
  • Show the Word Problem Graphic Organizer to students.
  • Walk through each section with students:
  • Question: Students write the question being asked by the word problem.
  • Important numbers: Students write the numbers they will need in order to solve the problem.
  • Unimportant numbers: Students write the numbers given in the problem that are not necessary to solve the problem.
  • Mathematical Operation: Students note whether they will use addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to solve the problem.
  • How do you know? (Key words) Students find key words in the word problem that indicate which operation will be used.
  • Drawing/Diagram/Other Visual: Students draw a visual to represent the problem being solved.
  • Calculation: Students solve the problem by showing their work.
  • Solution: Students answer the original question in a complete sentence.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Word Problem Graphic Organizer and Fraction Word Problems: Strawberry Stand to students.
  • Work through the first problem with students.
  • With students' help, fill in each section of the graphic organizer.
(25 minutes)
  • Have students answer the next question on the worksheet.
  • Students should fill in each part of the graphic organizer in order to answer this question.
  • Circulate the room to ensure that students are completing the graphic organizer correctly.
  • Once students are finished, review each component of the graphic organizer as a whole class.
  • Enrichment: Students who finish quickly can continue working through problems on the worksheet using the graphic organizer. These students could also come up with their own word problems that include important numbers, unimportant numbers, and key terms.
  • Support: Many students who need extra support may have trouble identifying important vs. unimportant numbers, or determining the operation needed. You can talk through the problem and help students visualize what is being asked to help them determine these aspects of the word problem.
(5 minutes)
  • Use the students' completed graphic organizers to pinpoint components of solving the word problem they do and do not understand. For example, a student may be able to correctly subtract fractions, but may have misidentified which numbers to subtract. Conversely, a student may know what is being asked of them and is able to correctly set up the problem, but may complete the calculation incorrectly. This information will allow you to target your future instruction to individual or small groups of students.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students why this graphic organizer makes solving word problems easier.
  • Ask students why it is important to decide which numbers are important and which numbers are not.

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