Problem-solving Two Ways


CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4 Model with mathematics.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.B.5 Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide. 

⏰ Time

30-40 minutes

📃 Summary

Students are introduced to the various means of problem solving in a brief presentation. They watch a video on visualization, then solve a problem that asks them to visualize. After watching a video on building a model, students build and/or draw their own model of a multiplication problem or property. Lesson concludes with game play to reinforce these problem-solving strategies and learn more. This lesson assumes that students have some familiarity with multiplication of one-digit numbers and division with one-digit divisors.

📲Technology Required

If teaching in person, the teacher will need a computer and projector or smart board to show the videos, or students can be given the links to watch on their own devices. Students will need a PC, Mac or Chromebook or tablet. Making Camp Premium, Making Camp Lakota and Making Dakota are all playable on any web browser on those devices. Spirit Lake: The Game, playable on Mac or Windows computers also teaches these same concepts. Students will also need access to the games.

📚 Lesson

Watch a Video: Visualize (2:38)

This video teaches you how to visualize a problem. Visualization may help you solve it more easily. If you use objects to imagine quantities of numbers in certain problems, you will be able to find the solution faster.

Short presentation and problem (10 minutes)

After watching the video, teachers can present this short Google slides presentation or assign to students in Google classroom, giving another example of visualizing a problem. The presentation ends with asking students to visualize another problem themselves. It then leads into the next video.

Watch a video: Build a Model (1:37)

If you’d rather give a presentation than show a video, here is a Google slides deck you can use as is for copy to your own Google drive and modify.

Actually Build a Model (10 minutes)

Two possible assignment for building a model are:

  • Have students create a model using Google draw, jam board or simply drawing it on paper.
  • Build a physical model using objects in their home or school

Google slides presentation describing these assignments is given here. You can simply save to your own Google classroom and then assign to your class to include both types of problems or modify to add more explanation or delete whichever one does not apply to your class before assigning.

Play a game (15 minutes)

Assign students to play Making Camp Premium (plays on any device) or Spirit Lake (plays on Mac and Windows computers) to practice these problem-solving strategies and more with multiplication and division. Play Making Camp Lakota to reinforce division skills and concepts.

Games for Growing Math


Two assessments are built into the lesson, on visualization and building a model. Teachers can also see which standards students have attempted and how many problems they have answered correctly in the Making Camp teacher reports.

Related: Problem-solving Two Ways (Bilingual English & Spanish)

The lesson above has a companion lesson for English Learners. Problem-solving Two Ways (Bilingual English & Spanish) is the same lesson from above but provides the resources, videos and Google Slides, in English and Spanish.

2 thoughts on “Problem-solving Two Ways

  1. Pingback: Problem-solving with pigs: Start at the end

  2. Pingback: Problem-solving Two Ways (EL)

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