Build your students’ proficiency with solving two-step word problems with this set of task cards, resource materials, and assessment activities. With this “print-and-go” resource, you’ll have everything you need to develop, strengthen, and assess your students’ problem solving skills.
NOTE: This set is a follow-up to Set A of my Step To It! task card & printables set, available here
. All of the materials in this set are different from the materials in Set A.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics addressed:
Operations and Algebraic Thinking (OA)
Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.
• Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. (3.OA.8)
• reference sheet
• 32 task cards
• 4 sets of “resource cards”
• task card answer sheet and key
• 8 self-checking “answer cards”
• 4 assessment activities with answer key and rubrics
About the Cards
I designed these cards to help provide students with practice with reading and interpreting story problems that require two steps to solve. When I first had a chance to see some of the practice problems for the fourth grade PARCC test that my students have to take in my state, I noticed that virtually every word problem that the students had to solve had at least 3 steps, and some had as many as 5 or 6 steps! While such problems are in keeping with the fourth grade standards, which specify “multi-step problems”, they are challenging for many students in my grade, a great many of whom struggle with problems that have just one or two steps. I realized that if the students were not proficient with solving two-step problems, they wouldn’t be able to solve the problems on PARCC, SBAC, and other assessments that have 3, 4, or more steps.
These cards present story problems that require exactly two steps to solve, and those steps utilize all four operations. The numbers on the cards are all manageable, with most cards using only one-digit numbers or a combination of one-digit and two-digit numbers. Any multiplication required by the cards is limited to single-digit factors and any division results in whole number quotients, as specified in the third grade Common Core Standards for Mathematics. I decided to keep the numbers fairly low because I wanted the focus of the cards to be on the process of interpreting and solving the problems, rather than on the procedures of computing.
The cards features simple graphics that will look great whether you print the cards out in color or in black & white!
Please check out the preview to see all of the materials up close!
Using the Cards
This set is a follow up to the cards in Set A of my Step To It! task cards. While the cards in Set A feature problems that give all the information necessary to find the answer, this set of cards require the students to refer to a data chart in order to help answer the questions on the cards. The 32 cards are divided into sets of 8, and each set of 8 cards has problems that relate to a particular data chart. Included with the 32 task cards is a set of four resource cards (each of which are task card-sized), labeled as corresponding to Cards 1-8, 9-16, 17-24, or 25-32.
When students are working on the cards, they will need to have the corresponding resource card. When working on card 3, for instance, the student would need to have the resource card labeled as matching cards 1-8.
The resource cards are provided in two options: a one-sheet version containing all four data charts for all of the cards, and four individual sheets, each of which features four identical cards with the same chart on each card. You can photocopy the page that has all four data charts, provide that sheet to all the students, and then they will have all the charts they need to answer the questions on every card. You can also run of the individual pages and cut them into fourths, giving each student (or pair of students) working on the cards the resource card that corresponds to his or her set. After those students are done with the 8 cards in their set, they can swap resource cards with other students and work on a different set.
There are lots of ways in which you can implement the task cards beyond the suggestions above. You can have the students work on them independently, working through the task cards on their own. The students can work on them in pairs or small groups, completing a given number of cards in one or more sessions. You can use them in centers, having the students complete 6-8 task cards a day over the course of the week. You can even use them as a variation of “problem of the day”, giving each student 1 sheet of 4 cards to glue in their journals and solve, one sheet per day for eight days.
Reinforcing and Assessing Understanding
The printables consist of a graphic reference sheet and four different assessment activities. The reference sheet focuses on using models (bar model and number line model) to represent a situation described in a word problem. This tool can be an excellent jumping off point for a mathematical discussion about the use of models to solve word problems. Your students can then glue the reference sheet in their journal and then use the journal insert as a guide while they work on the cards, as well as when they complete other tasks that relate to solving word problems.
The four provided activity sheets can be used to evaluate student understanding of interpreting and solving two-step word problems. As with the cards, the activity sheets feature problems that require all four operations. Any multiplication requires involves either two one-digit factors or a one-digit factor and a factor that is a multiple of 10 in the range of 10-90. All division involves whole number quotients and requires only basic division facts. The four pages are formatted similarly, and have similar types of questions, though the numbers on each are different. You can use these activity pages in a variety of ways: pretest/posttest, guided practice, homework, center assignments, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines. There is a key and scoring guide to help make grading as easy as possible.
For more resources to address concepts in the Operations & Algebraic Thinking domain, please check out the other related resources I have available –
Step To It! solving two-step word problems task cards & printables (set a)
Snow Bonds: +, –, x, and ÷ number relationships task cards & printables (set a)
Self-checking Math Riddles – Reasonableness of Sums/Differences
I hope your students enjoy these resources and are able to build their proficiency with problem solving. – Dennis McDonald