EL Support Lesson

Making Story Problems

In this creative maths lesson, students will use familiar objects to act out story problems for their peers! Can be used as a stand alone or support lesson for the **Act it Out** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theAct it Out!Lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theAct it Out!Lesson plan.

Students will be able to represent and solve addition word problems using objects.


Students will be able to explain how to solve an addition word problem by acting with objects.

(2 minutes)
Teach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Making Story ProblemsGlossary: Making Story Problems
  • Gather the students together for the start of the lesson.
  • Using objects, tell a story problem about the classroom. For example, "I have three pencils, and you have two pencils, how many pencils do we have in all?"
  • Say, "In maths we call this a story problem. Today we are going to practise solving lots of story problems!"
(5 minutes)
  • Write up a standard addition equation such as 2 + 1 = 3. Review the definition of an equation as a maths number sentence. Review strategies students might use when solving addition equations (e.g., counting, drawing, and using a number line).
  • Tell an additional story problem using objects.
  • Model how to solve the problem by counting the objects and use a number line to show one strategy of keeping track of amounts when counting.
  • Show students how to write a corresponding equation for your story problem and practise reading the equation aloud.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell a story problem to the class, "I have six crayons and then I found four more crayons in my desk. How many crayons do I have in all?"
  • Put the students in pairs and provide each pair with a box of crayons. Ask the students to solve the problem in their group.
  • Gather back together and have students share out how they solved the problem. Highlight different strategies (e.g,. moving the crayons, using a number line, counting aloud, etc.).
  • Model how to use drawings to show the word problem on paper.
  • Write up the corresponding equation 6 + 4 = 10And have students practise reading it aloud.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that students will now get to create their own story problem using objects from the classroom (provide a variety for students to choose from) using the steps below.
    • Choose objects.
    • Tell the story.
    • Draw a picture to show the problem.
    • Trade with your partner to solve solve the problem and write an equation.
    • Pair students together and then send them to work.


  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).
  • Work with students in a small group to design and act out story problems.
  • Practise identifying the parts of the story problem with the students.


  • Invite students to act out more complicated story problems.
  • Ask students to explain how to solve the problem with a partner.
  • Have students write down their steps and share out.
(5 minutes)
  • Collect work samples to assess if students are able to solve story problems using drawings and objects.
  • Take anecdotal notes of students discussions as they work to target additional support as needed.
(3 minutes)
  • Gather students together.
  • Tell the class a story problem.
  • Pass out whiteboards and markers and have students turn and talk to a partner to solve the problem using their whiteboards.

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