First Encounter To Story Problems

young's creek schoolContent— 3rd grade students will go over strategies for reading, breaking down, and solving story problems.  These story problems deal with basic addition and subtraction operation that the students will be required to know before attempting the story problems. This lesson is based on Building Bridges Session 19 with activity worksheets 1.3 and 1.4 which have two subtraction and addition story problems with embedded work space.

Lesson major elements:

  1. Practice with using the QIS strategy to solve story problems.
  2. Using full sentences to explain answer.
  3. Showing full work to support students solution to answer.

Process – This lesson is the sixth in sequence of the bridges in mathematics. We will use the QIS strategy to decipher story problem and break them down to what is the question, information, and solution. This lesson includes multiple activities that allow students to practice story problem strategies. Students will lead observation base conversation in defending their claims. There is only one current answer for the problems, but the students will be allowed to use any method that they believe is necessary to solve the problem. Peer sharing allows students to bounce ideas off of each other and check their solution. This lesson require critical thinking in deciphering the information given in the problem and translating that into mathematical equations. This lesson will be used as a bridge between basic addition and subtraction equation to translating information gather into graphs.

Product – Student will work through work sheets 1.3 and 1.4 to produce four correct answers. 1.3 deals with two addition story problems, and 1.4 has two subtraction story problems.

“Billy has 15 pencils. His mother took away 7 pencils, and give them to his brother. How many pencils does Billy have now?”

“Sarah had 14 marbles. She got 4 more marbles from Patrick, and 8 more marbles from Sean. How man marbles does Sarah have now?”

Evaluation —  Students will be evaluated based on several different assessments. Informally they will be evaluated based on my observations, and how well they do with the practice problem that the class will work on together. Formatively they will be assessed by the thumbs up thumbs down method when going over the worksheets together as a class. I will ask the students to put thumbs up if they understand how to solve the story problem. I will ask thumbs down if they are still confused. Also students will formatively be assessed when they peer share. Summative assessment will be the worksheets that students turn in.

What kind of thinking will students need to do to participate in the lesson? Students will need to do critical thinking in order to solve addition and subtraction story problems. Students will also need to use reading and writing skills to articulate their answers. Students will also use observational thinking/strategies.

To what extend do students have options or choices regarding these lesson components? The only option students will have is to take a challenge question. The lesson is based off of bought curriculum with required steps. I do create optional challenge questions for my students who are TAG. These questions are normally made up on the spot with me judging the ability of my students at the time to see if they can handle challenging problems. Students do have the choice in how they interrupt the data, what they pull out as relevant to the question, and what way they want to represent the solution/work. These question only have one current answer but can be solved by using several different mathematical operations. Some students might choose to solve the problems with pictures, equations, charts, etc…


I had some issues when creating this lesson plan. I want to go over story problems in more detail than is possible in just one day; however, the curriculum has a set schedule, and the calendar must be followed. It is frustrating that something as big as how to decipher story problems is only given one day.

After watching my CT over the past couple of weeks, I am getting a better idea of how to give the students the knowledge that they need in order to solve problems. My CT does a QIS strategy in solving story problems. I have talked to him about going over story problems in more detail, but again there is no time. Regardless he has given me free reign in how I want to teach my math lesson, and I have taken this opportunity to figure out my teaching methods. I am having some trouble getting my student’s attention and keeping their attention consistently. I have tried several different methods but none are working.

I dislike the curriculum that the school is using. There is no room for changing anything in the lesson, and the way they want us to teach the math is a complete waste of time. The students are not getting any of the hard basic concepts of the math, for example they do not know how to borrow to solve double digit numbers. I want to take a step back and show my students the foundations that they will need to expand their mathematical knowledge.


Image credit: Young’s Creek School in Orange County  [online image]. 1924.

Retrieved September 18, 2015 from 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.