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Creating Story Problems

Jennie Bueltel
1st grade
Daves Creek Elementary School
Forsyth County Schools


In this activity, student will focus on reading/ listening comprehension skills as they apply to mathematics story problems, as well as on written and verbal mathematics communication skills. Using classic literature as inspiration children will apply their understanding of addition and subtraction situations and operations to create, describe, and solve story problems. Students will write and solve story problems involving a variety of situations, choosing strategies including- part-part- whole, comparing, grouping, doubling, counting on and counting back situations. Students will use drawings, equations, and written responses to solve single story problems.

Illustrative Task
Read and discuss the book When the Relatives Came. Look at the illustrations and think about the events in the story. Discuss the ‘Math’ problems presented when family comes to visit.
  1. Tell stories related to the book: Ask for students to identify the most important information in the story. To do this, ask the following questions:
    • What is this story problem about?
    • How many [subjects/objects] are there to begin with?
    • What is happening to these [subjects/objects]?
  2. As students identify the information, highlight or underline the information that will be needed to solve the problem. Ask students to find the actual question in the story problem that needs to be answered: "What does this story want to know?" Read it aloud. Ask for a complete sentence that answers the question. When a sentence has been agreed upon that includes specific information (e.g., the subject's name, the numbers involved, the items' names, etc.), have a student write the sentence under the equation, using conventional capitalization and punctuation, and writing all numbers as words (i.e., instead of writing "20" a student would write "twenty") to facilitate correct spelling of number words.
    • Continue telling stories and asking questions until students can explain and represent what is happening with words and or manipulatives.
    • Students should then begin to create, illustrate, and solve their own story problems.
    • Share with the class.

GPS Addressed
M1N3. Students will add and subtract numbers less than 100 as well as understand and use the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.
  1. Compose/decompose numbers up to 10 --"break numbers apart", e.g., 8 is represented as 4 + 4, 3 + 5, 5 + 2 + 1, and 10-2).
  2. Understand a variety of situations to which subtraction may apply: taking away from a set, comparing two sets, and determining how many more or how many less.
  3. Understand addition and subtraction number combinations using strategies such as counting on, counting back, doubles, and making tens.
  4. Know the single-digit addition facts to 18 and corresponding subtraction facts with understanding and fluency. (Use strategies such as relating to facts already known, applying the commutative property, and grouping facts into families.)
  5. Solve and create word problems involving addition and subtraction to 100 without regrouping. Use words, pictures, and concrete models to interpret story problems and reflect the combining of sets as addition and taking away or comparing elements of sets as subtraction.
ELA1R6. The student uses a variety of strategies to understand and gain meaning from grade-level text. The student
  1. Reads and listens to a variety of texts for information and pleasure.
  2. Makes predictions using prior knowledge.
  3. Asks and answers questions about essential narrative elements (e.g., beginning middle- end, setting, characters, problems, events, resolution) of a read-aloud or independently read text.
  4. Distinguishes fact from fiction in a text.
  5. Makes connections between texts and/or personal experiences.
  6. Identifies the main idea and supporting details of informational text read or heard.
  7. Recognizes cause-and-effect relationships in text.
  8. Recognizes plot, setting, and character within texts, and compares and contrasts these elements among texts.
ELA1W1. The student begins to demonstrate competency in the writing process. The student
  1. Writes texts of a length appropriate to address a topic and tell a story.
  2. Describes an experience in writing.
  3. Rereads writing to self and others, revises to add details, and edits to make corrections.
  4. Prints with appropriate spacing between words and sentences.
  5. Writes in complete sentences with correct subject-verb agreement.
  6. Uses nouns (singular and plural) correctly.
  7. Begins to use personal pronouns (e.g., I, me, we, us) in place of nouns.
  8. Uses singular possessive pronouns.
  9. Begins to write different types of sentences (e.g., simple/compound and declarative/interrogative).
  10. Begins to use common rules of spelling.
  11. Begins to use a variety of resources (picture dictionaries, the Internet, books) and strategies to gather information to write about a topic.
  12. Uses appropriate end punctuation (period and question mark) and correct capitalization of initial words and common proper nouns (e.g., personal names, months).
  13. Uses commas in a series of items.

Video Information
Use these questions to guide your thinking about some of the important teacher ideas in the lesson featured in the video clip.
  1. What kinds of questions does the teacher ask to promote students’ problem solving?
  2. How is the teacher gauging students’ current understandings and building from those understandings?
  3. Consider the GPS standards listed with this video.
  4. What makes this lesson different from lessons you have taught on this topic?

Classroom Materials

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