Have students make their own word problems

STANDARD — If your school or district uses Common Core, below is the exact standard addressed. (Even you use some other standards, I bet you still teach multiplication!)

Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each.

Funny thing about word problems – they’re all around us but students don’t recognize that fact because they aren’t presented that way. So, here is a really quick lesson plan for you. First, have your students watch this video on building a model to solve a problem.


After watching the video, give this example ….

The first example in the video can be rewritten as a word problem like this:

You have five carts to fill. Each cart can hold 12 robes. How many total buffalo robes can you put in the five carts?

Now that your students have a model, ask them to rewrite the second example in the video, with putting books in boxes, as a word problem.

They’ve had an example of you putting something into a word problem. They’ve used the basis of a word problem to create their own example. The third step is to have them write their own word problem.

Fourth, have students share their word problems with another student and see if he or she understands it.

At the end of the period, collect all the students’ problems and use several of these for your next quiz or review.

You can use this PowerPoint from the video if you want to review points and add the problem at the end, or if you just work for one of those oppressive schools that won’t allow you to access YouTube.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *