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Giant Story Problems: Reading Comprehension through Math Problem-Solving
|Grades||1 – 2|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||One 30-minute & one 60-minute session|
This lesson focuses on reading comprehension skills as they apply to mathematics story problems, as well as on written and verbal mathematics communication skills. Working as a class, students read a story problem and answer a series of questions designed to bring out the essential points of the problem. Students then draw a picture on chart paper showing the details of the story problem. They write both an equation and a sentence to represent the problem. Finally, students repeat the process with new problems, working in small groups to create posters using images, text, and mathematical equations to represent a story problem.
Sample Giant Story Problems: Use these sample problems for groups to solve.
David and Phyllis Whitin talk about the value of writing in the mathematics curriculum in chapter one of Math Is Language Too: Talking and Writing in the Mathematics Classroom. They state that mathematics and language are both "ways for learners to make sense of their world" and that "writing and talking are ways that learners can make their mathematical thinking visible." One of the most concrete examples of mathematics as language is in the reading and solving of story problems.
Story problems depend on reading comprehension skills for the development of successful problem-solving strategies. Having students collaborate on story problems gives them the opportunity to learn by talking, collaborating, and sharing ideas as they compare pictures, words, and numeric symbols for consistency. The Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, includes communication as a mathematics tool for all levels of learners and suggests collaboration as especially beneficial for young learners.
Whitin, Phyllis, and David Whitin. 2000. Math Is Language Too: Talking and Writing in the Mathematics Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 2000. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.