3rd Grade Winter Math Story Problem Project | Math Mystery Ice Rink Incident

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Math Coach Connection
Grade Levels
3rd, Homeschool
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70 pages
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Math Coach Connection
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3rd Grade Math & 3rd Grade Reading Project! Third grade math problem solving! Winter Math Activity! Project-Based Learning engaging math story problem project! Google Slides versions included!

The ICE RINK INCIDENT math mystery-story problem project is an awesome way to keep your students engaged in math problem-solving during the Winter season! It covers multiplication within 50 and within 100, as well as addition and subtraction within 1,000 so it is accessible to many third grade student as enrichment and engaging review. Students will be intrinsically motivated to solve the mystery and along the way they will be engaged in solving math problems! This project is differentiated with two different levels includes to support students at different levels of problem-solving. It also includes a printable version and a digital version (.pptx and Google Slides).

It is also self-checking, so students will have feedback right away at the end of the project to see if they are correct because if they are incorrect their answer won’t be one of the suspect choices.

This project includes 11 pages per level of engaging math story problems! Embedded in the story problems are reading passages at approximately a 610-800 Lexile level that are great for third readers! Also, if the text level is above a child's independent level, this is a great activity to do as a read-aloud or with the support of a parent/teacher in whole group or small group!

Look for the level key on the bottom right side of each page to ensure that students are working on the correct level. This project focuses on multiplication and division within 100 as well as addition and subtraction and mixed-operation story problems. Both levels of this project are aligned to standards 3.OA.A.3, 3.OA.C.7, 3.OA.D.8, 3.NBT.A.2, and 3.MD.A.1. The project is also aligned to ELA standards CCSS.ELA-LITERATURE-3.3 and ELA-LITERATURE.3.10. The levels include the following types of problems:

  • Level 1: multiplication and division within 50 (both application and fluency practice). Addition and subtraction within 1,000 with minimal regrouping. Mostly single-step story problems with result unknown story problem structure.
  • Level 2: multiplication and division within 100 (both application and fluency practice). Addition and subtraction within 1,000. Regrouping on most problems. Mixed story problem structure with mostly multi-step problems.

How does it work?

  • Students are presented with a mystery situation, and the possible suspects for who committed the crime.
  • Students read the alibi statements for each character and solve the related math problem(s) on each page.
  • Students use the additional details, clues, detective conversations and information to determine who is guilty of the crime.
  • Students determine who they think is guilty. Then they solve the final problem to see if they are correct. In order for this to work, they must solve other problems throughout the project correctly. If they find that the final problem is unsolvable, or their answer is not a possible option, then they need to go back and check their work!

*The Ice Rink Incident: The Northland Ice Rink is everyone’s favorite place to be in the Winter. From figure skating, to ice hockey, curling and free skate, there is something for everyone. People of all ages come just to check out the fantastic indoor ice rink. This winter, the Northland Ice Rink was getting ready to host their annual Ice Festival. But something terrible happened! On the day of the festival, the entire ice rink had melted! It was a wet pool of water instead of an icy wonderland! Who would do such a terrible thing? Use your math skills to help the detectives solve the mystery of the Ice Rink Incident!

Note, this project is Winter themed but does not specifically mention any Winter holidays. It can be used as a compliment to holiday activities, but never mentions any specific holidays or things related to holidays (to give more access to schools that do not celebrate specific holidays).

"Where were you at the time of the crime?

It couldn’t be you, so tell us why!

We hope you have a good alibi! "

The project opens as a ZIP file which includes:

  • PDF versions of each level of the project
  • Power Point versions of each level of the project (with easy-to-use "enter text here" boxes for easy online submission). Compatible with Google Drive/Google Classroom. Now including direct links to Google Slides versions of the project!
  • Directions for Digital Use
  • Answer keys for every page!

I hope you enjoy this engaging Winter Math Mystery!


Looking for more Math Mysteries? Check out my third grade collection!

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3rd Grade Math Mystery The Swimming Pool Suspect

3rd Grade Math Mystery The Footprint Fiasco

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About the Author

Melanie Doppler--Math Coach Connection taught in a 3rd and 4th grade multi-age classroom in a Title 1 public school in Wisconsin for 3 years, 5th grade math and science for 2 years in a public school in Tennessee, and spent 1 1/2 years as a math coach. She has her BS in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is committed to creating fun and creative products that are differentiated and aligned to the math content standards! She recently published a math children's book Carnival Counting and has a podcast, The Dog Ate My Homework, for parents/guardians on how to support their children with math.


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TERMS OF USE - © Melanie Doppler-Math Coach Connection

Purchase of this digital download is for use in one classroom only. This item is also bound by copyright laws. Redistributing, editing, selling, or posting this item (or any part) on the internet are all strictly prohibited without first gaining permission from the author. Violations are subject to the penalties of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please email me with any questions: mathcoachconnection@gmail.com

Total Pages
70 pages
Answer Key
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.
Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.


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