Open Ended Math Problem Solving Tasks Grade 2-3 Winter | Distance Learning

Grade Levels
2nd - 4th
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20 pages
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  1. Are you looking for challenging math problem solving tasks that keep your students engaged, apply the math you have taught, and meet the rigor of the Common Core State Standards? Now available with a DIGITAL COMPONENT as well!This bundle is for you!This set of 12 (4 sets of 3) math problem solving c
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  2. Available for ONE WEEK ONLY, this winter bundle of 12 amazing resources will give you TONS of low prep, engaging work to help you navigate this challenging time of year. Give yourself the ultimate holiday gift--and use this bundle to help you keep your students engaged while you provide quality, st
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Are you looking for challenging math problem solving tasks that keep your students engaged, apply the math you have taught, and meet the rigor of the Common Core State Standards?

This resource is for you!

This set 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.


Each set in this four-set bundle is themed by season and will be released over the next few months. Buy the sets individually or buy the bundle now and get the updates as they are released.


Winter and Spring: Available December, 2018

Summer and Fall: Available February, 2019

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.

Here are the 3 challenges!

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!


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.

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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 clickingHere!

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Total Pages
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Attend to precision. Mathematically proficient students try to communicate precisely to others. They try to use clear definitions in discussion with others and in their own reasoning. They state the meaning of the symbols they choose, including using the equal sign consistently and appropriately. They are careful about specifying units of measure, and labeling axes to clarify the correspondence with quantities in a problem. They calculate accurately and efficiently, express numerical answers with a degree of precision appropriate for the problem context. In the elementary grades, students give carefully formulated explanations to each other. By the time they reach high school they have learned to examine claims and make explicit use of definitions.
Model with mathematics. Mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. In early grades, this might be as simple as writing an addition equation to describe a situation. In middle grades, a student might apply proportional reasoning to plan a school event or analyze a problem in the community. By high school, a student might use geometry to solve a design problem or use a function to describe how one quantity of interest depends on another. Mathematically proficient students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions. They routinely interpret their mathematical results in the context of the situation and reflect on whether the results make sense, possibly improving the model if it has not served its purpose.
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution. They monitor and evaluate their progress and change course if necessary. Older students might, depending on the context of the problem, transform algebraic expressions or change the viewing window on their graphing calculator to get the information they need. Mathematically proficient students can explain correspondences between equations, verbal descriptions, tables, and graphs or draw diagrams of important features and relationships, graph data, and search for regularity or trends. Younger students might rely on using concrete objects or pictures to help conceptualize and solve a problem. Mathematically proficient students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, "Does this make sense?" They can understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and identify correspondences between different approaches.
Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.
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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