Problem Solving Worksheet for 5th or 6th Grade Math
Problem Solving for Fast Finishers
I used this week's problem of the week in my 6th grade math class today, for the fast finishers.
Because we aren't too "into" a particular topic at the moment, this problem solving activity uses a mix of operations, so students get some practice with basic operations along with the word problem practice.
I intended for students to use mostly division and multiplication, but I saw students using addition as well.
This problem solving activity gives students a 'bake sale scenario' and then asks four questions related to that scenario.
Math Conversations About Solving Word Problems
I really enjoy talking with my students about what they are thinking when they try to solve problems, for a few reasons:
I noticed a few different things when the students were solving the different parts of this week's problem:
For part A, I multiplied 85 times 3 to get the total number of cookies and then divided by 24 (when I wrote the problem, I wanted the students to have to interpret the quotient, so I approached it with a desire to use division).
BUT one student was just sitting and thinking, so I asked him what he was thinking. He started to say he divided 24 by 3 and then paused - I almost interrupted his thinking to redirect him to my way, but I successfully restrained myself, and asked why.
I really liked his thinking process, because it hadn't occurred to me to do it that way. Now, if the numbers hadn't worked out evenly, it might not have been the best approach, but we could expand our class discussion to explore that.
After deciding he could fill 8 baggies per batch, he added on sets of 8 until he reached the correct number of batches.
As some students worked on part C (below), I started to think I should adjust the wording of the problem.
When I wrote the problem, I thought it would be clear that the number of cookies for part C was the same as part A, but some students thought of the part C as using 85 baggies of 2 cookies (same number of baggies), instead of using the same number of cookies.
As more students worked on it though, other students seemed to understand that the number of cookies should be the same as the original number they were working with, so I haven't changed it yet. If you use the problem, please let me know what you think.
Again, a few students approached this part in a different way than I did - they said that in both cases, the cookies cost 25 cents each. Using this reasoning, some students said the cost was the same, while others did not - again, a great opportunity for discussion, both in small groups and as a whole class.
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Do you have some favorite problem solving activities?
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Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!