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Lesson Plan

Solving the Math Curse: Reading and Writing Math Word Problems

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Solving the Math Curse: Reading and Writing Math Word Problems

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Valerie A. Adair, M.Ed.

Willow Grove, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology


Teacher Resources




  • Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (Viking, 1995)

  • Journals or loose-leaf paper

  • Crayons, markers, and pencils with erasers

  • 12-inch rulers

  • Yardstick (optional)

  • Computers with Internet access (optional)

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Student Self-Assessment Checklist

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1. Familiarize yourself with the book Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. Be sure to review and solve the word problems on pages 6 and 9 in the book ahead of the lesson.

2. Print out a copy of the "Math Curse Word Problems" puzzle from the online Crossword Puzzles tool (select Play One of Ours and the 3-5 tab; the puzzle appears in the drop-down menu). An answer key can also be printed for reference. For more information about the puzzle see Playing Puzzles: A Guide for Teachers. If a computer lab is available, consider having students complete the crossword puzzle online.

3. Print out the Word Problem Rubric, one for each student in your class.

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