Students will solve 32 word problems that target place value skills. These include standard, word, and expanded forms, rounding, estimating, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, how many times greater one digit is in one place than another, and ordering and comparing numbers. They will be given a page with learning targets, steps for understanding the problem, problem solving strategies, and reflection questions. Of the 32 questions four have multiple parts to them. Students will read and understand each problem, solve using one or more strategies, show all of their work, explain when needed using fourth grade academic vocabulary, and choose at least one reflection question to answer concerning each problem. The problems can be used as task cards, made into a small book to work on after completing other work, given during a prime time or extended learning time, or assign problems as needed when working on these skills during the regular class time. Students may work individually, with a partner, or in a small group. Partner and group work will encourage collaboration.
As I explicitly teach each learning target I incorporate these types of problems for students to work on. I make small books out them and I allow the students to choose a partner, small group or to work individually. They work on a problem and discuss it within their group or with a partner and then follow up with me. I offer feedback and they either keep working on the problem or move on to the next one. I have seen my students grow tremendously through these word problems.