If you walk into any third or fourth grade classroom during math time, there is a good chance they are going to be working on multiplication or division. One of the things I see third and fourth graders struggle with the most is the application of multiplication and division in story problems. I also think that teaching multiplication and division in the context of story problems makes it comes alive for students.
What are the Common Core standards for multiplication and division in grade 3 and 4? Check them out:
- CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.A.3 Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1
- CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.2 Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.1
See that little 1 at the end? That refers you to a footnote that asks you to check out Table 2 in the glossary. Many third and fourth grade teachers have not yet had an opportunity to do this. Especially if you are accessing the standards online, it can be tricky to find.
Here is a look:
Even though the compare problems (third row) are not assessed until grade 4, I have made sure my third graders get exposure to these types of problems. Especially by starting out with friendly numbers in the known fact range for these kids, I have helped them access these problems. I wouldn't want them to come across a new problem type in fourth grade with challenging numbers.
If you also teach multi-digit addition and subtraction you may want to read up on the 12 different problem types in addition and subtraction that your students should be familiar with.
Because I have been more aware of these different problem types, we have spent quite a bit of time working on them over the past week months in grades 3 and 4 during whole group instruction and partner work time. I wanted to see what students would be able to do on their own. I created a set of task cards to use with my students in grades 3 and 4.
I spread the cards out around the perimeter of the gym. Each kid got a clipboard, pencil and record sheet. Then they went around from card to card solving problems and recording answers on their record sheet. It was great to see how engaged they were and I was quite impressed with the work they did.
Check out these great action shots:
|Contemplating a story problem|
|You can grab all 20 cards for one low price or grab a sample set of 4 for free!|
Which problem types do your students see the most of? Is there a problem type (or a few problem types) that your students need more practice with? Please respond in the comments below!