# Tag Archives: Engaging Students

### Addressing Mathematical Practice Standards Through Multiplication and Division Word Problems

Have you ever given your students an experience with manipulatives and then found when you shifted over to a textbook that the students didn’t make the connection between the two experiences? As a curriculum developer and researcher, I am constantly looking for more ways for students to make connections from the concrete (manipulatives) to the representational (pictures) to the abstract (numbers).  I think word problems can help us do this because they are from the real world, and students can visualize themselves in the given situation.Now, word problems can be challenging for students because they require the students to have an understanding of the context or setting, an ability to read, and an understanding of the math concepts involved. Today I want to share with you something I recently field tested that allows kids to work with word problems and focuses on developing a better understanding of division. The students were doing division, but I have also created the sentence frames for you to do it with multiplication.

1. Start by having students work with manipulatives (concrete) and solve division or multiplication problems. If you want to use the setting of astronauts you can cut them out from the black line master. Solve problems like the following:      2. You can use the table to choose different problems and a class. 3. After students are comfortable with solving problems using the manipulatives, you can give them the task to independently represent the problem with the pictures of the astronauts on a word problem page.         Students can do multiple problems,choosing easy or difficult problems to solve from the table. You can also later put the solved problems into a class book about division.When students are doing word problems they are interacting with a variety of the Mathematical Practice Standards:  MP.1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.MP.6 Attend to precision.MP.7 Look for and make use of structure.Building the concept of division through solving word problems is so beneficial because the word problems connect the real world with math, engage the students, and support mathematical communication.How have you helped students connect the real world and the mathematical world?

### Building Confidence in Math with Multiplication

Why do you teach? I remember when I first came into the profession it was because I enjoyed students and wanted to make a difference. I still love watching movies of teachers that have gone into challenging situations and inspired students to think differently. These teachers empowered the students to be all that they were… Continue Reading

### Writing a Multiplication Word Problem

Word problems are typically not students’ or teachers’ favorite part of the math lesson. When I talk with teachers, they are frustrated with teaching multiplication word problems. I think one of the things we have been missing is teaching students the structure of what is involved in any multiplication word problem. “Look for and make… Continue Reading

### Finding Math in Unexpected Places

I was reading Inchworm and a Half with my 6-year-old daughter, Bethany, last night for the 40th time. She loves reading the section, “Squirmy, wormy, hoppity-hoop! We measure everything, loopity loop.” Even before she could read books she memorized this section and would “read” it. The book is about an inchworm that loves to measure… Continue Reading

### How to Equip Your Students to Better Understand Multiplication, Part Three

I never liked word problems as a student. It was difficult for me to figure out which procedure to use, but I really didn’t like problems like this: Robert is three times as old as his younger brother Mark. Mark is 7 years old. How old is Robert?  As I reflect on my experience, I… Continue Reading

### Making Word Problems More Engaging, Part Three

This is my last post in the series; Making Word Problems More Engaging. Creating analogies for students to understand addition and subtraction is important. Whether you use Trevon, Bobby, Jada, and Maya, or come up with your own characters is not important. What is important is giving students a complete conceptual understanding of addition and subtraction.… Continue Reading

### Making Word Problems More Engaging, Part Two

Dinnertime is a place stories are told at my house. One of my favorite storytellers is my husband Matt. When he tells a story, you feel like you are there. Stories are memorable, they can take us to another world, and for mathematics, stories bring context to the abstract. Our world is full of exciting… Continue Reading

### Making Word Problems More Engaging, Part One

As I watched my daughter Bethany do her homework last night I had an Aha Moment. She complains almost every day that she has addition and subtraction homework. Apparently, she does not have her mother’s love of math. (I’m working on that.) Her paper had simple numeric addition and subtraction, and she decided that she… Continue Reading

### Teaching Addition and Subtraction, Part Three

This blog post will be the final in a three-part series on teaching addition and subtraction. Part One talks about the Change Plus/Change Minus, and Part Two talks about Composing/Decomposing. Our last situation is Comparison. After reading Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood, I realized how foundational comparing relations (talking about two sets being more than,… Continue Reading

### Teaching Addition and Subtraction, Part Two

I remember my first experience in a Mathematics Methods Course of a Part/Part Whole Mat. I really liked how the mat could be used for both addition and subtraction. This was the beginning of my pedagogical understanding of composing and decomposing as an addition and subtraction situation. I have already written a series of posts… Continue Reading