Problem Solving Strategies–Act it out

We all know there are different problem solving strategies kids need to learn in order to really understand word problems. One of the most popular strategies is “acting it out.” Many times, the story problems don’t MEAN anything to them. Maybe they can’t relate to the story problem or maybe they can’t read it very well. (Of course, they could also just be tuned out, but that is a whole different topic!). By using manipulatives and actually acting out the problem, kids begin to understand WHY they are adding or subtracting a set of numbers.
photo 1 (2)You can introduce this lesson to your whole class by having the kids act out a problem (For example, Ask “Mrs. Smith has 12 boys in her class and 14 girls in her class. How many students are in her class?” and have kids come up and act out how many students are in the class). Since it is spring, why not bring in some plastic eggs to practice? Hand an egg to each student and ask different questions (How many blue ones do we have? How many blue and pink ones do we have? How many MORE yellow eggs are there than purple eggs?). Then, let small groups or partners work on some problems together.

Slide1In my Hop-to-it Scoot set, kids get the chance to put these problem solving skills to work. Students will practice addition and subtraction skills while solving these spring-themed problems.
Then, gather up supplies students can use to solve the problems (think:  plastic eggs, jellybeans, flower seeds, bunny erasers, etc.). By simply allowing them to act out the problem, students are more likely to understand the math behind it, and they will have fun so everyone can be happy! Go ahead….Hop-to-it! And, have some fun! 🙂

Until next time,
Krista