Sunday, April 6, 2014

Addition and Subtraction Word Problems and the Common Core

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that there are 12 problem types for addition and subtraction word problems that students should know to show mastery of the Common Core Standards.  (If you are not a regular reader of my blog and want to stay up to date with creative ways to practice math, you may want to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or by typing in your email on the right hand side of this page!)

My second graders have been hard at work on developing conceptual understanding of double digit addition and subtraction over the last few weeks.  They have been inventing and sharing strategies and working with word problems with all 12 different problem types.

Today I wanted to give them a chance for some extra independent practice with these skills.  I also wanted to get them up and moving around because spring fever is definitely in the air and everyone seems to be feeling a bit wiggly.  It wasn't quite warm enough to do this outside but we managed to get up to they gym for this lesson.  (if it is warm enough to be outside in your region, check out track math!)

We used my newest set of word problem task cards
These were a lot of fun for my students!  You can check then out (including a FREE preview) HERE!

I printed the task cards on card stock, cut them apart and placed them around the perimeter of the gym.  Each kid got a clip board and a record sheet and they were off solving problems.  I love how engaged this makes students.  This is usually a group that requires a great deal of management yet for this assignment, I felt like I was on a vacation.

Students move around the gym with clip boards solving problems.  Students can go in any order they want but there are never allowed to be more than 3 kids working near each card.  I also make sure that students know I do not want to see them near the same person over and over again.  
At this point in the year, I wanted to see how students would do on their own with solving these types of problems.  Other times in the year I do a similar activity with fall and winter themed tasks and sometimes these are done with partners.  This time, I had students work alone and then consult with a partner as they finished up.  We call this having a math talk.

A student's record sheet.  They have circled the answers that they disagreed with their partner on and together they will go back and find these cards and try to come to an agreement on an answer. 
Another students' answer key
Once they have come to an agreement on answers, I do a quick consultation with the answer key.  If they have all the answers correct, I give them a blank task card and ask them to write an additional task that would go with this set.   As kids finish writing their own tasks, I have them switch with other kids and solve their problems on the back of their record sheet.

Here are some problems the students wrote to go with the set.  
Once everyone finishes up and we pick up all the cards, I give them this quick formative assessment to see where kids are in the current thinking and who needs more practice with these problem types and who is ready to move on.  It also gives me a look at what strategies students are using to solve double digit addition and subtraction problems.  

Here is a look at some of the problems I used for formative assessment.  You can see that students are using several different strategies to solve these problems.
My students are in great shape with meeting this standard!  I have a small group that needs a bit more practice but so far so good!

Here is how I tucked these away for next year!  All organized and ready to go.

Everything I need in one folder.  Cards, answer key, record sheets and formative assessment prompts.  Copies made and ready to go!
I glue the title page to the front of the folder and I am all set to use these again next year or to try them out with another group!
Want to try these with your students.  Head to my TPT Store to purchase the full set (on sale now!) or get a free preview set!


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  2. I love this Task. It is brilliant in its simplicity. I am definitely going to try it with my Year 5 students. Thanks for the inspiration! :)