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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Answer is...

Looking for a new way to get some more problem solving time in? This may be your answer. The idea for this comes from the article "The Answer Is 20 Cookies. What Is the Question?" by Angela T. Barlow and Janie M. Cates. It appeared in the Dec 2006/Jan 2007 edition of Teaching Children Mathematics. 

The idea is that you can help your students develop deeper mathematical understandings by letting them work backwards. Start at the answer and let them discover the problem. I tried this with my first graders last week. I put the answer 29 hearts on the board and we worked through creating a story, a math question and the number sentence as a whole class. Then I gave them this problem frame:
Click here to get the pdf for this problem frame and give it a try with your class.
For some students it was very difficult to figure out how to ask the question. It requires a lot of thinking and gives them the opportunity to make connections, use relevant knowledge and demonstrate their mathematical understanding.  I really love how easy it would be to differentiate this activity for all grades. You can require specific operations, real life mathematical situations, double digit numbers or larger, use of fractions, negative numbers, multi-step problems, and just about anything else you can think of.  This first time we did it as a whole class activity but next week I am putting it into my math centers. I think it will work great in just about any student configuration.

Here are some samples from first grade:


If you are interested in more problem frames like this, I put together 38 others that you can get at my Teachers pay Teachers and my Teachers Notebook stores and the answer is $3.00.

1 comment:

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