Word Problems - Draw and Solve Giant Story Problems

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6.22 MB   |   31 pages plus cover, copyright, and credits pages


Problem solving with Giant Story Problems takes the mystery out of word problems and helps students develop and increase their mathematics problem solving and communication skills.

Use close reading to increase comprehension.

Support Common Core Math Standards.

Develop good Mathematical Practices.

Integrate Reading, Math, Art and Writing.

Students in all grade levels often have difficulty with word problems. This activity presents a step-by-step strategy for problem-solving using a combination of visual, numerical, and written information with a focus on the reading comprehension that’s necessary for creating successful solutions to word problems.

This is a simple strategy -- draw a picture first. Many teachers do it. This resource takes it a bit further and offers some extras, with tips for getting started and things to watch for, some ready-to-print starter story problems, rubrics for student self-reflection, and more.

The Giant Story Problems strategy is particularly appropriate and useful for ELL students and students with special needs and students of any age or grade who need additional problem-solving support. It is useful for all ages and grade levels.

This process creates a gradual release of responsibility, beginning with a whole group problem-solving activity that models the strategy, provides guided practice with small group collaboration and eventually moves on to individual work. This strategy functions with a philosophy that less is more, in that it avoids overloading students with quantity. Instead, it relies on close-reading and deeper attention to the languge of story problems in order to lead toward more accurate strategies and solutions. Students tackle one word problem at a time and are given opportunities to share and discuss their strategies.

This resource includes:

- step-by-step procedures for introducing the strategy
- directions and tips for small-group and independent work
- a few art tips to help students create clear visuals
- sample ready-to-print word problems for introducing the strategy
- photos of student work samples for reference
- suggestions for assessment
- ideas for creating a system for ongoing use of the strategy
- photographs of student work, including examples of common mistakes
- tips for implementation and organization


- fifteen pages of ready-to-print/ready-to-use, large font “starter” word problems, 3 or 4 to a page, covering a variety of concepts and operations


- three student self-assessment worksheets for small group and individual reflection.

NOTE: The ready-to-use “starter” word problems included in this resource can be used in the whole group introduction and small group guided practice activity. Teachers will need to collect, gather, and prepare more word problems for ongoing work.

Related resources that may be of interest:

Time for Reading: Fractions on the Clock -- integrating reading and math
Draw and Write Literature Response - Elementary Version
Draw and Write Literature Response - Middle School Version
Drawing People - An Observation Drawing Lesson

Share2Learn lessons are designed to focus primarily on the learning process. They are intended to be open-ended enough to encourage student creativity and detailed enough to give teachers clear direction.

Visit my blog, Creating Art With Kids, for detailed descriptions and helpful tips about the teaching process for many of my art lessons.

Like Creating Art With Kids on Facebook for inspiration and ideas for making time for art in the classroom.


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Total Pages
31 pages plus cover, copyright, and credits
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Word Problems - Draw and Solve Giant Story Problems
Word Problems - Draw and Solve Giant Story Problems
Word Problems - Draw and Solve Giant Story Problems
Word Problems - Draw and Solve Giant Story Problems
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