Lesson Plan

Solving Word Problems

Word problems getting you down? Then spread the word on a lesson that will help students decide when to add or subtract, as they identify clue words that aid in solving word problems.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Reflect on the Context First! pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Reflect on the Context First! pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

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

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


(10 minutes)
Carnival CountMulti-Step AdditionMath NinjaMonster Word Problems
  • Create a scenario to introduce the concept of word problems. For example, say, "I am going to the local zoo and I plan on bringing 11 students with me. Six more students want to join us. How many of us are going to the zoo?"
  • You can have students come to the front of the class in these denominations if you would like.
  • Go over the answer to your created problem.
  • Repeat the activity with a different word problem.
  • Call on different students to answer the problem to promote class participation.
  • Tell students they became a part of a word problem. Ask students to reflect on what word problems are and have a class discussion. Remind the class that a word problem is a situation explained in words that can be solved using math.


  • Show students a picture of the zoo to support understanding of the scenario.
  • Define the word problem in student's home language (L1) if student is literate in home language.
  • Provide an example of a simplified story problem.


  • Encourage students to repeat the story problem back to you, in their own words.
  • Ask students to explain what a problem is in their own words.
  • Write the standard algorithm (1 + 11 + 6 = ________) on the whiteboard to support student understanding.