house fly

Unit: Word Problems for fifth-graders

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.NF.A.2 Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.A.1 Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents in the place to its left.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.A.3.A Read and write decimals to thousandths

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.A.4 Use place value understanding to round decimals to any place.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NF.A.2 Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. 

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.B.5 Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.B.7 Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.


Approximately 2.5 hours

Unit Summary

This cross-curricular unit includes a variety of strategies and examples for solving word problems at a fifth-grade level, including division of three-digit numbers, fractions and decimals.

Buffalo Hunts and Division

This lesson begins with a video on long division (optional) or a presentation on uses of division from the playground to the buffalo hunt. Students then watch a short video working long division problems. Finish with practicing long division in Making Camp Dakota. Short videos on Dakota buffalo hunt traditions and related math lessons are also linked.

Watch out for blood-sucking fishes!

This 40-minute lesson introduces new science vocabulary words, teaches about indigenous and invasive species and includes a couple of math problems showing how quickly invasive species multiply. It concludes with students playing the Making Camp Dakota: Past and Present game. Math word problems require finding half of 500 and 10 x 500.

Using Visual Models To Compare Fractions

Students play 2-3 levels of a game that teaches and assesses adding and comparing fractions with different numerators and denominators, with the context of a story from Ojibwe history. They create their own problems using visual models to compare fractions. Students discuss classmates’ problems. The lesson culminates with a video on visualization as a problem-solving strategy. (35-45 minutes)

Decimals, Epidemics & Fly Vomit – It’s science!

Learn decimals while weighing a flies and the food they eat. The lesson begins with a game on decimals and the Aztec smallpox epidemic, then moves to another disease spreader – flies. Students learn the role flies play in our ecosystem, how they eat and reproduce. (75 minutes)


For students who are struggling with word problems, assign these videos directly teaching strategies or watch together in class.

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