FREE Open Ended Word Problem: Multi-step Project Based Learning (Grade 3-5)

Rated 4.68 out of 5, based on 296 reviews
296 Ratings
Beyond Traditional Math
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
8 pages
Beyond Traditional Math


*UPDATE: Problem now has metric addendum for those of you outside of the U.S.* (Big thanks to Brenda Blake!)

In Doggy Dilemma, students are finally allowed to get a dog! They can choose from three dogs and then must create a dog pen for the backyard. They will calculate the area and perimeter as well as the cost of the project.

Why work on open ended problems?

If you've been paying attention to the assessments that are following the Common Core State Standards, then you know that we need to raise rigor in our classrooms when it comes to problem solving. These problems will help prepare students for performance task assessments.

What is an open ended problem?

An open ended problem (sometimes called a performance task) is a full page (or more) of reading to help students practice reading for understanding in math problems. The problems are open ended, meaning that students can come to more than one answer. The problems are deep, multi-step and require perseverance. You will notice that the Standards for Mathematical Practice are embedded within the problem. Some of my problems also include writing, like this one.

What age group is this most appropriate for?

This challenge is appropriate for end of the year 3rd grade (or gifted 3rd graders anytime), 4th grade and possibly for struggling 5th graders.

How and when do you use this problem type in class?

It could be used as an assessment, a partner activity, for small group work, as work for students who have finished assignments early or for gifted and talented small groups. Each problem most likely will take more than one class period to complete. When I did this problem it took me 30 minutes and I should admit that I was rushing!

The first time I did an open ended problem with my third graders, we did it together as a whole group. We went through it and talked about the complexity, did a close reading of it and then attempted another one on our own after that. You know your class best!

If you like this one, check out my other open ended problems:

Open Ended Word Problems (My best seller!)
Open Ended Problems - Set 2
Holiday Version - On Stage! Open Ended Performance Task
Presidential Birthday Statisticians: Open Ended Performance Task
Design a Dream Bedroom: Open Ended Performance Task
Open Ended Math Journal: 125 Prompts to Promote Deep Thinking
Total Pages
8 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
2 hours
Report this resource to TPT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TPT’s content guidelines.


Questions & Answers


TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up