# Math Madness Wednesday: Problem Solving Strategies

I hope everyone is having a great week so far! This is my kiddos’ last week of school, so there is a lot of excitement and anticipation in this household! I know many of you have already started the summer season and the last thing you want to think about right now is lesson plans! But, back-to-school will be here before you know it (yes, I said those dreaded words!).

This week, we will be discussing problem solving strategies, specifically drawing pictures. I think this strategy is SOOO important, especially at a young age! We teach visualizing or making a mental picture when we teach reading. Isn’t problem solving reading too? For many students, it is the reading they get stuck on before they even get to a math strategy! By having them draw a picture, we can not only see their work, but we can also see if they are understanding what the question is actually asking. Having said all of this, I also want to say that it CANNOT be the only strategy that we teach! As kids get older and the problems get tougher, drawing exact pictures become tedious and sometimes is just not helpful. I will be discussing more strategies in upcoming Math Madness Wednesday posts, but I do think this is the strategy to begin with to make sure students are reading the problem correctly.

Florida has done some research on this subject and has a WONDERFUL free resource for their teachers and anyone else. You can read it here. There is a lot of good information and examples in this packet! Today’s topic of drawing pictures is discussed on pages 17-21 (they call it Visualizing). It includes some great examples as well.

I also have a packet of Monthly Warm-Ups, a new series I am creating. This first one has a month’s worth of story problems that can be solved with addition and subtraction and includes a space for students to draw a picture of their work. I have used a lot of common sight words so the readability is easy and the math is the actual focus. Words that are NOT sight words or may be more difficult have a simple picture above them the first time they are mentioned on the page. The pack includes differentiated problems as well.  Each story problem has an “easier” set of numbers (indicated by 1 dot on the bottom of the page) and a “harder” set of numbers (2 dots on the bottom of the page). The actual story problem is the same, so the pages do not look that different from each other. An answer sheet is included and also shows which function (addition or subtraction) is used on which page. You can use them in any order, so this page may help you decide which problem you want students to work on each day.

The story on the left has the “easier” numbers of 5 and 3. The story on the right has the “harder” numbers of 15 and 13 (not all numbers simply have 10 added to them; this is just one example)

As I am working on my new series, I would love to hear what YOU would like to be included as Monthly warm-ups, any subject! Comment below or on my blog (click here) and I can make sure I include all of your wish list items on my future products!

Krista
Teaching Momster