Addition and Subtraction Word Problem Featuring Depth and Complexity

Grade Levels
Resource Types
Common Core Standards
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0.94 MB   |   19 pages


This Depth & Complexity math word problem allows kids to explore their thinking while solving a real world problem. Not only will students be adding and subtracting, but they will also be examining the details of the problem, determining important math vocabulary, and solving the problem in different ways. Students will also need to explain their thinking as they finally solve the problem.


During the problem, students will be asked to figure out if two students have baked enough cookies for a 2nd grade picnic. They will need to add three amounts together, while also understanding when to subtract cookies that were accidentally dropped on the ground. Students will be given the total amount of 2nd graders but will need to determine if the total they calculated will be enough for all.

Can Anyone Use Depth and Complexity Frames?

Yes!! Although these lessons are designed for GATE students, I still use them with my "Non GATE" learners, and they really enjoy it. Teachers have the choice of using this as an independent activity, an assessment, as a math center, or as a way for kids to work together cooperatively, as one of the sheets include cooperative learning structures. This allows the kids the opportunity to verbalize their learning and communicate like mathematicians.

Differentiate or Add On:

I have included several different template/layout options to use for your preference. You can even use the different layouts to differentiate for your kiddos.

Create Your Own Math Problem/Change the Problem:
Also included is the option to write in the numerical amounts used in the word problem should you want to increase or decrease the numbers given. This will also give you the opportunity to use the lesson again, but by changing the quantities, you have a whole new lesson!

Other Ideas:
This could be used as an introduction
to solving 2-3 step problems. It can also be used as a mid-assessment or as a CGI problem in which kids have to show their answers 4 different ways. You could even use this as part of a math station! :) Have fun!

This is also part of a larger bundle where you receive two more lessons (money word problem & foundations for multiplication)

Depth & Complexity Primary Math Word Problem Bundle

Included in this lesson:

+ Frame with icons (work independently)
+ Frame with icons embedded with cooperative learning structures to work part of the activity in groups and in partnerships)
+ 2 Frames with option to write in different numerical amounts (with and without cooperative learning structures)
+ Optional frames
1) no icons, but instead, kids must solve the problem 3 different ways,
2) same as above but with the option to change numerical amounts,
3) word problem only which leaves more space to work the problem
4) word problem only with option to change numerical amounts
5) word problem and 4 boxes to solve 4 ways
6) same as #5 but with option to change numerical amounts
7) word problem, same icons as the frame but with a different layout
8) same as #7, but with option to change numerical amounts

Sample answer key and detailed directions and suggestions included

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Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour

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Addition and Subtraction Word Problem Featuring Depth and
Addition and Subtraction Word Problem Featuring Depth and
Addition and Subtraction Word Problem Featuring Depth and
Addition and Subtraction Word Problem Featuring Depth and