As I mentioned in my post about Story Problem Tip #1, story problems are a huge part of math. It’s so important that we provide students opportunities to use math with real world situations. Last week I talked about how students tend to dread word problems. The see words in math and tend to freak out – it’s just supposed to be numbers! That’s why I started this little mini blog series. You can find tip #1…here…
So, for tip #2 to make story problems a little more fun, let the students choose their numbers. A huge part of differentiation is choice. My example below is from when I taught first grade, but you could change the numbers and story problem skill to fit any grade level.
I often give 3 choices. One for my struggling students, one for my on-level students, and higher numbers to challenge my kids who are ready. I let kids pick the numbers. However, I do go around and monitor their choices. If students pick one that is too easy, after they solve it, I suggest they try the larger numbers. If students pick one too hard for their ability, I suggest they try a different one first and then they can try to go back to that one.
Kids love choice and by giving them choice with story problems we are differentiating for their needs, which will make story problems seem less dreaded and impossible.