Lesson Plan

Solving Mixed Number Word Problems Using the Three-Reads Strategy

There’s more than one way to add and subtract mixed numbers! Use this witty lesson plan to teach your students to illustrate mixed number sums and difference while giggling with delight.
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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to apply the Three-Reads strategy when solving word problems involving addition and subtraction for unlike mixed numbers.


(5 minutes)
Unlike Your Average Mixed Number Word Problems
  • Show your class a picture of apples and oranges (there should be a different amount of each) and ask, "How many pieces of fruit are there?"
  • After allowing for student responses and confirming the correct amount, ask the class, "How many apples are there?" Allow time for student responses.
  • Pose the question, "If there are __ pieces of fruit, and apples are fruit, how come there are different amounts of fruit and apples?"
  • Discuss and confirm that although apples are fruit, oranges are also fruit - but because they are different kinds of fruit, they can’t be added all together as one.
  • Write the following colloquialism on the board, 'It’s like comparing apples to oranges.' Explain what this figure of speech means, "Although items may belong to the same category, added levels of specificity exist such that items may not be further compared."
  • Point out how in the same way, we can’t add mixed numbers with unlike fractions. Even though mixed contain whole numbers, there is an added layer of specificity in the denominators such that unlike fractions can’t be compared.
  • Tell your students that today’s lesson will teach a strategy to solve word problems that include mixed numbers with unlike fractions.

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fifth grade
Subject Math