Day 289 – Student-Created Word Problems

It is always a good idea to have a little bag of tricks as a teacher. Sometimes you need to pull something out to fill a random amount of time that unexpectedly popped up. This morning, I thought I was going to need a quick activity for some students, so I remembered reading about this Pinterest idea.

You give the students an answer to a math problem and they have to come up with the word problem that goes with it. If all goes as planned (which may or may not happen), you will get quite a pile of different questions that will all result in the answer you provided.

My original idea was to make this challenging for a 5th grader by having the answer be a fraction, which would allow for many different levels of thinking. Unfortunately, it did not work out to try this with my regular class this morning. The thing is, I have a hard time forgetting about something, especially when it means that I can knock a Pinterest project out before 8:00 p.m. Later in the day I had a small group, so I decided to give it a try on them. We only had about 20 minutes, which would have been plenty of time to give them the fraction answer, but I wanted to ease them into it.

I gave the answer “16 oatmeal cookies.” Here are some of the answers. They fit the rules, but were not very creative.

After this round, we only had about 7 minutes, so I decided to give them another easy answer, thinking that they were warmed up now. Maybe they would think of some great things.

The answer was “6 baskets of eggs.”

Now I could sit here and rattle off about 283 different word problems that could result in the answer “6 baskets of eggs.” And four out of six children all came up with the same boring addition problem.

At least these others are on the track of thinking slightly more deeply…



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