Problem Solving Lesson Plans

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The easiest way to teach students how to choose an operation is to teach them to identify key words.

Consider writing this chart below on your front board and have students copy it into their problem solving notebooks.

Both of these examples show that a key component of an effective lesson is the balance between individual/group work and the chance for students to share and compare their approaches, strategies, and solutions in presentations to the whole class.

Orchestrating this transition, as well as bringing the class period to a close, summarizing the work that has been done, and setting up the next day's extensions, are also key tasks for the teacher.

Students may write that they added two plus four because it said “$2 and $4” so they thought that it meant to add. Then, they subtracted $6 from $10 because it said the word “How much” and “Left” and that is how they came to answer of $4.

It is also important to encourage students to read the entire problem once through before they choose an operation.

In other words, in order to successfully find a solution to the problem, students will need both their reading and mathematical skills.

Understanding how to choose an operation can be difficult for many students, especially for students who struggle with reading.

This strategy involves deciding which mathematical operation students will use (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or a combination of operations).

When choosing a mathematical operation, students will need the ability to understand the literal meaning of the sentence, as well as understand how to express the meaning mathematically.


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