Math Madness Wednesdays: Problem Solving

Problem solving can be difficult for some students, but it can be FUN too!  Problem solving is a BIG topic, so I’m only going to deal with one small portion of it this time.  Since it is so important, I plan on discussing this topic several times on Math Madness Wednesdays.

Today, I am going to talk about the strategy of “Acting It Out” and how this can help the story problems become more real for students.  Many times, the story problems don’t MEAN anything to them.  Maybe they can’t relate to the story problem or maybe they can’t read it very well.  (Of course, they could also just be tuned out, but that is a whole different topic!).  So, why not help them put their energy and excitement for spring to a good (educational) use?

You can introduce this lesson to your whole class by having the kids act out a problem (For example, Ask “Mrs. Smith has 12 boys in her class and 14 girls in her class.  How many students are in her class?” and have kids come up and act out how many students are in the class).  Since it is spring, why not bring in some plastic eggs to practice?  Hand an egg to each student and ask different questions (How many blue ones do we have?  How many blue and pink ones do we have?  How many MORE yellow eggs are there than purple eggs?).  Then, let small groups or partners work on some problems together.  

I have a new set of task cards just for this time of year.  You can grab the free sampler or snag the whole product (it is on sale for only $1).  Then, gather up supplies students can use to solve the problems (think:  plastic eggs, jellybeans, flower seeds, bunny erasers, etc.).  By simply allowing them to act out the problem, students are more likely to understand the math behind it, and they will have fun so everyone can be happy!  Go ahead….Hop-to-it!  And, have some fun!  :)

I am also linking up with Nancy at Teaching with Nancy for her weekly TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s FREE) linky.  

Until next time,


  1. says

    I love this idea – it takes the idea of hands on learning to a whole new level and helps ensure a greater level of involvement.

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