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Writing Christmas-Themed Word Problems
Students will be able to write and solve one digit addition word problems.
- On one side of the board write: 5 + 3 = ____. On the other side of the board write: Tiny the elf wrapped 5 presents. Jumbo the elf wrapped 3 presents. How many presents did they wrap all together?
- Ask students to determine what is the same and what is different about the two items written on the board.
- Support students to see that both items contain numbers that need to be added together, but one of the items only contains numbers and symbols while the other uses numbers and words.
- Tell students that “5 + 3 = ____” is a number sentence, an equation using numbers and common symbols, such as a plus sign and an equals sign.
- Tell students that “Tiny the elf wrapped 5 presents. Jumbo the elf wrapped 3 presents. How many presents did they wrap all together?” is a word problem.
- Explain that a word problem is one or more sentences describing a problem that needs to be solved using a mathematical calculation.
- Call on a volunteer to solve both the number sentence and the word problem. Ask him or her to explain their thinking as they solve each problem.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Tell students that they will receive number sentences, and their job is to write Christmas-themed word problems for each number sentence.
- Write “Addition Words” at the top of a piece of chart paper.
- Ask students to brainstorm a list of math words that they would see in addition word problems. These may include: total, join, both, sum, all together, plus, combined, increase, add, and in all. Encourage students to use these words as they are writing their word problems. Write these ideas on chart paper for student to use during Guided Practice/Modeling and Independent Work Time.
- Tell the class that there is a list of steps to follow as they are writing their word problems.
- Write these steps down on a new piece of chart paper for students to use during Guided Practice/Modeling and Independent Work Time with the heading “Steps to Write a Word Problem.”
- Tell students that first, they will choose a main character. For example, I selected Tiny the elf.
- Inform your class that second, they will decide what kind of object the character has. The number sentence will tell them how many of this object their character has. For example, “Tiny the elf wrapped five presents.”
- Tell your group that third, they will choose a second character and identify what object he or she has. Remind students that the number sentence will tell them the quantity. For example, “Jumbo the elf wrapped three presents.”
- Finally, students will ask a question using the math words we brainstormed. For example, “How many presents did they wrap all together?”
- Remind students that they will follow these steps as they are writing and solving their addition word problems.
Guided Practice(10 minutes)
- Project the Christmas Addition #1 worksheet onto the board.
- Tell students that you will be writing Christmas-themed word problems for these addition number sentences as a class.
- Refer students to the first number sentence: 3 + 2 = ____ .
- Call on a volunteer to select a main character (e.g. Frosty the Snowman).
- Call on a volunteer to select what object the character has. Remind students that the number sentence will tell them how many objects the character has (e.g. Frosty the Snowman has three buttons).
- Choose a student to select a second character and identify what object they have (e.g. Rudolph the Reindeer gave Frosty two more buttons).
- Select someone to finish the word problem by asking a question (e.g. How many buttons does Frosty the Snowman have in all?).
- Write this word problem on the board and select a student to solve it.
- Continue this process with 3-5 more number sentences.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Distribute one piece of lined paper to each student.
- Preview and handout the Christmas Addition #2 worksheet for students to complete independently.
- Remind students to use the “Addition Words” and “Steps to Write a Word Problem” posters as a resource as they are working on converting their number sentences into word problems.
- Provide students with manipulatives (e.g. unifix cubes or counters) to assist them with the addition word problems.
- Allow students to focus on solving the number sentences instead of writing word problems.
- Encourage students to make their word problems more complex by adding in a third character and a third number to their addition word problems.
- Give students the opportunity to work with solving word problems that contain subtraction and double digit addition with the Christmas Word Problems #1 and Christmas Word Problems #2 worksheets.
- Distribute whiteboards to each student.
- Tell students that you will say aloud some Christmas-themed word problems, and they will write a number sentence that matches each word problem. Ask students to hold up their whiteboards to show you their number sentences each time.
- Tell students at least five word problems for them to write number sentences. Remember to speak slowly and clearly. Alternatively, you may also write the word problems on the board instead of just reciting them orally.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Ask students to reflect and think about this lesson by going around in a circle and having students share one comment. It can either be one thing they learned, one thing they liked doing, one thing they did not like, or one thing they found challenging.
- Explain to students that thinking about their learning is very important because it will help them to explore what type of learner they are, how they learn best (where they need extra support, what kind of learning they prefer), and it helps you as a teacher create lessons that are interesting and fun for your students.
- Thank your students for their contributions during this reflection time.