Lesson Plan : Word Problem Detectives

Teacher Name:
 Mrs. Carolyn Vaughan
 Grade 3

 *Analyzing word problems in order to locate key/clue words you can use to help solve them correctly.
 *Key/clue words to identify when attempting to solve math word problems correctly. *Addition key/clue words - total, altogether, sum, in all, combined, plus *Subtraction key/clue words - fewer, less than, how many/much more, take away, left *Multiplication key/clue words - as much, product of, times, multiplied *Division key/clue words - into, split, cut, every, average, divide evenly, each, per, out of
 *To provide students with a new strategy that will help them decide what mathematical operation (add, subtract, multiply and divide) they will use in their equation to correctly solve math word problems.
 *Based on completed star diagrams, students will locate, highlight, and utilize key/clue words in word problems to solve them correctly.
 *Overhead with word problem worksheet transparency and star diagram transparency *Star diagram sheets (two per student, front to back copied) *highlighters (one per student) *magnifying glasses *pocket folders (one per student to act as detective notebook)
 Inform students that today we are going to be detectives and analyze word problems to locate "clue" words that will help us to solve them correctly. Explain to students that certain words in word problems can "tell" us whether we need to add, subtract, multiply or divide in order to solve the problem. Our job as detectives is to find these words and assign each word problem the correct mathematical operation. For example in the word problem (shown on transparency); Find the sum of 2 and 10, the clue word is sum, it tells us to add, therefore your write 2+10= and solve it correctly to find the answer is 12.
 Discuss with students that there are different clue words for each mathematical operation. On star diagram transparency, write the word add in the center. Pass out student star diagram sheets and instruct students to do the same on one of the sheets. Then tell students that we are going to write the clue words for the mathematical operation, add, in each of the five points. So in one point write the word total and the word sum. In each remaining point write one of the following words; altogether, in all, combined and plus. Complete the remaining three star diagrams for each of the remaining mathematical operations. (Some of the stars points will contain more than one word so as to include all clue words for each operation) Pass out pocket folders and explain that these will be our detective notebooks. They can write their name on them and keep their star diagrams neatly inside for later use.
 After students become familiar with "clue" words, pass out magnifying glasses (used by detectives), highlighters, and word problem worksheets. Students will follow along on their worksheets as we use our star diagrams to 1. locate, 2. underline (highlight), 3. assign a mathmatical operation to each problem, and 4. solve them correctly. (on side 1)
 This instruction can be differenciated based on higher and lower levels of student learning. Lower learning levels will begin with very basic, one step word problems. For example, Find the sum of 2 and 10. as learning level increases, so can the difficulty level of the word problem to include multiple step problems and problems that contain too much information.
Checking For Understanding:
 On day two of this lesson, students will use their given materials (detective notebooks, highlighters, and magnifying glasses) to complete a given word problem worksheet independently. Upon completion, worksheet will be gone over as whole group and students will record the number that got correct at top of worksheet to be turned in.
 Explain to students that being good detectives can assist them in solving many mathematical problems. Review the clue words for each operation based on star diagrams. Tell students to keep their detective notebooks and bring them to group daily. As we continue learning new ways to analyze math problems, we will add them to our notebooks for easy reference! Have a great day and always be on the lookout for new clues!
 *Observation of "detective" tools being used throughout the year *Number of steps shown and completed (1-4) when solving word problems *Completion of given word problems correctly *Student input given (orally) when reviewing lesson and then going on to solving word problems
Teacher Reflections:
 Overall this lesson went very well. I actually applied all of the information and bringing in the concept of being a detective made the learning fun. I was very proud to see my students to continue highlighting the "clue" words they learned throughout the year and even on into their testing situations. I hope I have given them a strategy they can carry with them throughout their educational experiences.

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