Have your students ever picked the numbers in a word problem and just did something random with them? They may have added when they should have multiplied or subtracted instead of divided.
It can get very frustrating when students simply say they don’t know what to do. But what can we do to assist them?
We may be tempted to give students the answers or at least the first step, but that won’t help in the long run. Instead, let’s work at helping them build a variety of problem solving strategies.
Stuck on a Math Problem – Bulletin Board
We are so comfortable with modeling think aloud strategies during read alouds, we need to do this same kind of thinking aloud as we model problem solving strategies.
- Chose one area of your wall to start a ‘Stuck on a Math Problem?’ bulletin board.
- Pick two or three problem strategies to focus on first. Display those strategies on the wall and model how to use them while solving word problems.
- Encourage students to use those strategies and display their work under each header.
You may also want to print a bookmark size list of the strategies for students to glue inside their math notebook.
Where can you Find Word Problems?
- Textbook – You can always try your math textbook first. There are usually H.O.T. (higher order thinking) questions towards the end of each lesson that are perfect for this.
- Math Tri-folds – My math tri-folds are organized by math standard, so you’ll quickly find the topics you need to cover. They also encourage students to show and explain their thinking. Below are links for grades 1-5.
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