Story problems in first grade can be a wonderful teaching tool – and I’m talking beyond the simple “2 ducks were in pond and one flew away…” type problems. I’m talking the COMPLEX story problems! I really think students need to be able to read and decode a story problem so they can figure out how to solve it!
I was noticing that in our standardized tests the word problems given weren’t “simple” and I don’t think they should be. Of course we start there, but students need to push beyond that and solve more challenging problems.
Last year, I created little story problem booklets for each month that get more difficult from August to June. The include the following topics:
I generally begin these booklets in small, guided groups we can go through them together and I can guide discussion. Towards the end of the year, I have my higher group sit and complete them together. They mark questions that they could not figure out and we discuss later – but for the most part they are able to explain and discuss their solutions!
These booklets also let me see where my students are getting stuck so we can use those question types as discussion starters before a math lesson.
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You can see some example problems by clicking the image below: