Math Problem Solving Performance Tasks Grade 2-3 BUNDLE | Print and Digital

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    Open Ended Challenges GUIDE


    Are you looking for challenging math performance tasks that keep your students engaged, apply the math you have taught, and meet the rigor of the Common Core State Standards? Maybe you feel your students just don't get enough real-world problem solving.

    This bundle is for you!

    Now available with a DIGITAL COMPONENT as well!

    This set of 12 (4 sets of 3) math problem solving challenges can be used in a number of ways…as whole class explorations, as small group challenges, or as independent work for those students needing something more. In my classroom, these are often whole-class explorations where students work in teams, share ideas, guess and check their ideas—and then present their solutions. The problem solving and math applications are high level and meaningful.

    Because grade 2-3 students may not have experienced this type of problems solving before, I have offered the tasks with different types of support. In some cases, I offer different levels of challenge. In other cases, tables and other organizers are provided to help students see what work needs to be done and to help with precision and accuracy.


    Appropriate for grades 2-3, depending on skill level and level of support offered or for grades 4-5 for review or for less experienced problem solvers. Selected answers are included, but many of the tasks (by definition of "open ended") have multiple solutions.

    Don't let the "Seasonal" label stop you... I use these tasks all year--some teachers just like to tie some activities to the time of year--and these sets can help with that!


    Here are the 3 challenges in the winter set!

    Skating Spectacular

    This challenge asks students to solve a multiple step problem where they need to rent skates for a group of people, buy snacks, and then come up with a total cost. The task is available in “Level A” which has only whole dollars (ex. $5) and “Level B” which uses money with decimals (ex. $3.25). You can use either version for your whole class or you can differentiate within the class because the task stays the same no matter which set of numbers you use.

    Snow Day Celebration

    This challenge is all about time and students need to add amounts of time to fill a daily schedule. This is a great beginning to understanding elapsed time as well has how our non-base 10 time system works—that an hour can be divided into four equal parts of 15 minutes or 2 equal 30 minute parts. There are countless ways for students to plan their snow day, and the “rules” about limiting video games and so on add an addition challenge.

    Cookie Capers

    The cookie challenge is a fun one for students and can be accessed in a number of ways. Students could use manipulatives to model the pans of cookies. They could draw pictures. They could use repeated addition or even multiplication! This is a true open ended challenge because there are many ways to solve it—and then there are challenge questions at the end for students who are ready for a little bit more!

    and the spring tasks...

    Great Gardening

    This challenge asks students to solve a multiple step problem where they need to use a given garden “array” to break the garden into smaller plots (arrays) to fit 5 different vegetables perfectly. There are multiple ways to solve this, and the questions that follow increase in difficulty. This task focuses on the concept of basic multiplication, basic perimeter, and addition of 2 digit numbers, including length.

    A Day at the Zoo

    This challenge is all about “time” and students need to use the rules given them for their day at the zoo to make sure they can see all the exhibits, take their zoo train ride, eat lunch, and watch a movie about endangered animals. Students need to be able to add amounts of time under an hour and plan their schedule for the day. The enrichment options following the main task add money and budgeting into the mix as well as some basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication computation work.

    Baseball Budgets

    It’s time for the team to get new uniforms! Students need to keep the cost per uniform to $100 or less while making choices between different options. The focus on this task is adding multiple two digit numbers, but the task continues by using basic multiplication concepts and addition of larger numbers and money.


    A Day at the Beach

    This challenge asks students to plan for a day at the beach by purchasing supplies before the trip—and to solve some problems they encounter while they are there. It focuses on addition and money skills. The task is available in “Level A” which has only whole dollars (ex. $5) and “Level B” which uses money with decimals (ex. $3.25). You can use either version for your whole class or you can differentiate within the class because the task stays the same no matter which set of numbers you use.

    Camping Cookout

    This challenge requires students to plan a meal for a baseball team. They will need to figure out how much food by thinking about “groups” of food (repeated addition or multiplication) and then also to figure out the cost! This task requires lots of planning, organizing work, and adding or multiplying.

    Festival Fun

    The Festival Fun challenge asks students to use a set of information about tickets for a festival to find four DIFFERENT ways for a family to use their tickets. The task then also provides several other problem solving experiences as well.


    Apple Picking Problems

    This challenge asks students to help pack apples into bags of different sizes. Students may use addition strategies or basic multiplication to help them find a way (and there are many) to determine how many apples they have in all, how many small and large bags to fill, and how much money they will make I all. This is a complicated problem with multiple steps, but one that could be solved with manipulatives or paper and pencil.

    Raking up a Storm

    This challenge requires students to answer questions about three sisters who needed to rake up 18 bags of leaves. The task asks them to solve elapsed time problems, basic addition (including finding multiple solutions), and a basic division “sharing” problem. Please note that students may need coaching to understand that 30 minutes is a half hour and there are four “chunks” of 15 minutes in an hour.

    Pie Making Party

    The Pie Making Party problem asks students to take a set of information (slices per pie) to find a way to reach exactly 200. Students could use manipulatives, repeated addition, subtraction, or multiplication strategies to come up with a solution. After they solve part 1, there are additional challenges involving solving problems with money.


    These problems are meant to take extended periods of time! Please allow students to work long enough to do high quality work! These problems often take 2-3 class periods...especially if you give ample work time, pull the class together to share ideas/troubleshoot along the way, share tips, and so on.

    Remember, part of problem solving involves “problems!” so don’t expect these to be easy for your students who are used to getting a solution quickly—or who expect there to only be one “right” answer! Celebrate great ideas and strategies… sometimes the process is more important than getting a correct answer in the end! Common Core connection pages are included, but know that students may use a variety of strategies to solve these so they are just “connections” to help you with your planning.

    Download the preview to see even more of what you get!

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    How about my open-ended challenges for grades 4-5?

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    Set 1 can be found by clicking Here!

    Set 2 can be found by clicking Here!

    Set 3 can be found by clicking Here!

    Set 4 can be found by clicking Here

    Set 5 can be found by clicking Here!

    Set 6 can be found by clicking Here!

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    The entire bundle of sets 1-3 can be found by clicking Here!

    The entire bundle of sets 4-6 can be found by clicking Here!

    Want ALL SIX? The "MEGABUNDLE" is now available by clicking Here!

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    All rights reserved by ©The Teacher Studio. Purchase of this problem set entitles the purchaser the right to reproduce the pages in limited quantities for single classroom use only. Duplication for an entire school, an entire school system, or commercial purposes is strictly forbidden without written permission from the author at Additional licenses are available at a reduced price.

    Total Pages
    80 pages
    Answer Key
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    to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
    Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?
    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.
    Solve real world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.
    Add up to four two-digit numbers using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.
    Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method. Understand that in adding or subtracting three-digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds.


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