Or download our app "Guided Lessons by Education.com" on your device's app store.
Multi-Step Word Problems? No Problem!
Students will be able to solve multi-step words problems with mixed operations using a four-step plan.
- Distribute whiteboards to each student.
- Write the following word problem on the board: "Nico baked 118 cupcakes. He kept 22 cupcakes at home to share with his family. He took the remaining cupcakes to school to share evenly with his 12 friends. How many cupcakes did each friend get?"
- Ask students to solve this word problem on their whiteboards.
- Call on a student volunteer to share their answer and the steps they took to solve this word problem.
- Tell students that this is an example of a Multi-step word problem, which has more than one step in order to solve it.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Explain to students that in order to solve multi-step word problems, they will follow four important steps.
- Post a piece of chart paper on the board to be used as a reference throughout this lesson. Title this chart paper "Steps for Solving Multi-Step Problems" and write the four steps for solving multi-step word problems.
- Write "Step 1: Read and understand the word problem." Tell students it is important to read and re-read the word problem carefully.
- Model for students how to read the word problem written on the board about Nico and his cupcakes.
- Write "Step 2: Underline the question and circle the important information."
- Model for students how to underline the question being asked (e.g., How many cupcakes did each friend get?) and to circle key numbers (e.g., 118 cupcakes, 22 cupcakes, and 12 friends).
- Write "Step 3: Plan a solution and solve." Tell students to decide which mathematical operations to use and choose a problem solving strategy (e.g., draw a diagram).
- Model for students how to first subtract (mathematical operation) 22 from 118 by writing a maths equation (problem solving strategy) and then divide that difference (96) by 12 to get the answer (8 cupcakes).
- Write "Step 4: Check your answer."
- Model for students how to check their answers by doing the opposite of whatever operations were used to solve the word problem.
Guided practise(15 minutes)
- Show students a copy of Anna's Birthday: Word Problems on the document camera.
- Tell students that this worksheet contains multi-step word problems with mixed operations.
- Model for students how to use the four steps for solving multi-step word problems to complete the first word problem. Point to and reference the chart paper as you move through each step.
- Distribute a copy of the Anna's Birthday: Word Problems worksheet to each student.
- Assign students into effective partnerships and tell students to complete the remainder of their worksheet with their partners by following the four important steps.
- Circulate and offer support.
- Call students together as a whole class to go over the answers and answer any questions that may have arisen.
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Tell students that they will now practise this skill independently.
- Preview and distribute the Word Problems: Flower Power worksheet.
- Remind students to use the Steps for Solving Multi-Step Problems chart paper as a reference when they are completing this worksheet.
- Circulate and offer support as students are working independently.
- Allow students to use maths manipulatives (e.g., counters) during Guided practise and Independent Work Time.
- Write out the Steps for Solving Multi-Step Problems four steps on individual pieces of paper to distribute to students to keep at their desks to use throughout the lesson.
- Provide students with a partially completed copy of the Word Problems: Flower Power worksheet during Independent Work Time.
- Gather students into a teacher-led small group to complete the Word Problems: Flower Power worksheet with support during Independent Work Time.
- Allow students to practise with single-step word problems during Independent Work Time (see optional materials).
- Challenge students by providing them with the Classroom maths: Division Work Problems worksheet, which challenges students to solve multi-step word problems with mixed operations including long division and requires them to use outside knowledge to find the answer (e.g., number of days in two weeks) (see optional materials).
- Encourage students to create their own word problems worksheet to exchange with a partner. Challenge students to write multi-step word problems with mixed operations.
- Distribute a blank index card to each student to be used as an exit ticket.
- Write the following word problem on the board: "65 bags of marbles are to be divided evenly among 13 students. Each bag contains 15 marbles. How many marbles will each student receive?"
- Tell students to rewrite this word problem on their index cards and use the four steps for solving multi-step problems to solve this word problem.
- Collect students' exit tickets.
Review and closing(3 minutes)
- Tell students that they are going to finish this activity by discussing the three W's.
- Instruct students to turn to a partner and reflect upon the following questions:
- What did we learn today?
- So what? Why was it important and/or useful?
- Now what? How does this fit into what we are learning and what do you think we will learn next?