We all know that students are hard to “engage” at this time of year–so asking them to solve end of year word problems seems unrealistic, right?
When we create math problems related to topics students care about–they are FAR more likely to engage. I love doing problem solving at the end of the year because it’s the perfect time to apply all those Standards for Mathematical Practice. “Apply everything we’ve done this year!” I tell the students gleefully. “You are READY for this and have all the tools you need.”
Problem Solving Minilessons
Throughout the year, I’ve taught countless lessons on problem solving. Check out THIS POST about rigor in math and THIS ONE for some ideas!
At this point in the year, it’s time to apply those lessons in novel situations. We need students to tap into the minilessons we have taught…
- How to draw pictures to help
- Reading and rereading
- Making lists
- Guess and check
- Working backward
- Looking for patterns
- Estimating for reasonableness
And so many more!
So what do we want students to do at this point in the year? USE THEM!
My minilessons at this point in the year are simple–we review all the different strategies we’ve used and when they are best used. I review how to organize work and showcase answers. In addition, I want students to be able to explain their thinking and solve any grade-level appropriate problem presented to them!
Mixing Things Up
Typically, we teach by “topic” all year. We teach fractions. Maybe we do a unit on subtraction. You know the drill. At this point in the year, I want students to put ALL the pieces together and be able to draw from all the content. I want them to recognize when to multiply and when to divide. Being able to draw from all their experiences to dig into problems is what we want for this time of year! That being said, we know that the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and the reality of summer is on the horizon. We need to create problems with content that resonates with students. I’ve written a set of problems to do just that! I wanted problems with mixed operations, different “entry” points and solution strategies, and lots of options.
Sometimes I want to have task cards to use as quick warm ups or at a math center. At other times, I want to have quick multiple copies that can be clipped and glued into math spirals. Sometimes I want to be able to send word problems to students through Google Classroom as a warm up, a station, or even for home learning!
As you know, even at the end of the year, we have VERY different ability levels in our classrooms. Sometimes it makes sense to do different groups and have completely separate work. At other times, it’s nice to have problems for everyone–but that have a little “extra” for students who finish quickly and are able to take the math to the next level. I designed most of these problems to have that “extra” where students can choose (or be required!) to do the second part. This continues to work on that multi-step problem solving as well!
Anyhoo…if you are looking for some ready-to-use end of year word problems, check these out. I’m excited to use the digital component this year which is a new upgrade for these problems. If you own this resource, please go get the updates. Everything has been updated from fonts to images and more!
Hang in there as your year comes to a close–and keep the learning going until the end!
CLICK HERE or the image below to see these word problems. The preview gives you a pretty good idea of what you get!