Math Tip Monday; Ideas for Teaching Word Problems

Yes - I've done it! I've managed to complete two of these Math Tip Monday's in a row! This is a big achievement for me lately, I'm still trying to fit everything in and get back into my routine - isn't it amazing how you have this perfect routine set up all year round that works, you have a few weeks off and go away on vacation - then it's lost!! You just can't get back into it! It's crazy, right?!

Anyway, this months tip is about ideas for teaching word problems. Now there were a few choices for this; problem solving routines, teaching kids to understand the process, strategies for solving problem or fun lesson ideas. 

 I think we all know me well enough to know I was always gonna go for the fun lesson ideas! Let's face it, I just love my kiddos to have fun while learning!

So, again, this is a little out of my comfort zone, so please bear with me! In my class, the children are diagnosed with severe autism and are only aged between 3-7 so this isn't something we would really teach, so it's taken a lot of research (and by research I mean pinterest - like duh! The pictures I've used are all linked to the fabulous pinners on pinterest so you'll be taken straight to their link for more info/ideas!)

So, while I was busy researching, trying to find something fun and different that I think kiddos would just LOVE, I stumbled upon a LEGO themed activity for word problems. I kid you not, LEGO! Let's face it, all kids love lego, it's taking over the World! So, here's some info on the activity with lego. (If you click the images they will go to the woman who came up with this great ideas blog to get the full info!) 

It's all about simplifying the word problem down a bit, making it more understandable for the kiddos and helping to keep them engaged. Have you ever had to do something, but you kept trying over and over again to grasp it but it just got so hard to understand that you gave up and couldn't be bothered? That's exactly how the kiddos feel when they are over powered with all these words and numbers and different objects/items/colours that are being introduced. 

If you want to read how she used lego please click on her pic or read on for ways that I would try to simplify word problems. 

So, let's do a farm theme - we all love the farm! 

There are 15 animals on the farm, 10 are pigs. How many animals are NOT pigs? 

You could get out some animals here. So set up some sheep and some pigs, set up a little grassy field area, have the child put 10 pigs in. Now encourage them to count on (either mentally or with some sort of visual in front of them - timeline etc) and add the sheep to make up the rest of the numbers. Now get them to count the sheep - how many are there? 5! You have your answer!

Or - do you remember my post a few months back with the images of counting and simplifying it down? (Click here.

Now, instead of the sum underneath the boxes, get the word problem there. Get the children to highlight the numbers in the word problem and work out if they are adding, subtracting etc. Get the corresponding objects if possible and get them to physically do it in front of them on their math page!

Have fun - and be sure to check out all the other great bloggers ideas for this months Math Tip Monday! Don't forget, pinterest is an amazing tool that you can find so many great ideas for this topic! Click here for some!


1 comment

  1. I loved your fun lesson idea! I taught a K-5 self contained classroom last year and previously worked in a private early childhood intervention autism program during college. This year I teach an inclusion kindergarten class and have loved it all!


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