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Subjects

- Arts & Humanities

--Language Arts

--Visual Arts - Educational Technology
- Mathematics

--Applied Math

--Arithmetic

Grade

- K-2
- 3-5
- 6-8
- 9-12

Brief Description

Word problems come to life when kids write their own problems and stage photos that illustrate them.

Objectives

Students will

- practice reading and answering word problems as a class, in small groups, and on their own.
- think about the ways in which, and the places where, they use math.
- stage a photograph that illustrates one of the ways in which they use math.
- write their own real-life word problems to accompany the photo.

Keywords

word, problem, math, photo, photograph, reality, real-life math

- camera (a digital camera is preferable; that way photographs can be downloaded and enlarged), but any camera will do
- a collection of grade-appropriate math word problems from math texts, work sheet sources, and the like

Lesson Plan

Math word problems can be a difficult concept for many students to master. Why not add some fun to problem solving by having students write their own word problems? Increase the fun by adding a little theater! Bring word problems to life by challenging students to work together in pairs or small groups to stage photographs of real-life settings that involve math and to write word problems to go with the photographs.

This activity can help students who are visual learners grasp a math skill that is grounded in reading.

Prior to letting students go off on their own to write word problems, spend a couple of class sessions allowing students to practice reading and solving such problems as a class, in small-groups, and independently. Then spend another day writing word problems as a class and in small groups.

After students have had some focused practice with word problems, introduce this lesson, in which they work in pairs to think about where they encounter math in their lives. Begin by brainstorming a list of places in which they find math. (Provide a few of the ideas that follow to get them started.) Then encourage students to be creative as they find math in unusual places, dress themselves up, and stage photos...

If you have a digital camera, use it to take the photos, and then enlarge the photos to create vivid images. You might usestudent-writtenword problems as the focus of a Word Problems of the Week learning center in your classroom.

** Some "Photograph Math" Photo Opportunities **

- Students might take a photo of a sign inside a local fast-food restaurant. Depending on their grade and skill levels, they could write problems that involve figuring the cost of different meals, change they would receive from a $10 bill, what they might buy if they only had $2 in their pockets, and so on.
- A couple of kids might pose by a street sign that announces how many miles it is to neighboring towns and then create word problems to accompany the photo. Word problems could involve calculating mileage, distances between two points, how long it will take to get from place to place if they travel 35 miles per hour, and so on.
- Kids might stand in mannequin-like poses as they model clothing with big price tags attached. Word problems challenge students to figure the cost of the outfits in different combinations, how much change they would get if they paid for a shirt with a $20 bill, how much sales tax would be added to an outfit in your locale, and so on.
- Students might strategically locate large items -- such as a trash barrel, a bicycle, and a chair -- on the playground outside their classroom and then take a photo, enlarge it, and attach a scale that indicates (for example) that every inch on the photo equals 20 feet. The problem could ask students to figure out the distance between the trash barrel and the bicycle, whether the trash barrel is closer to the bicycle or the chair, how much closer one item is to another, and so on.
- Students might dress up as characters from a book, TV show, or popular movie, pose themselves in a funny scene, and write problems that relate to the characters, the book, or the show.

The possibilities are limited only by the students (unlimited) imagination!

After pairs/groups have created their photos and word problems, encourage them to meet with another pair/group to critique each others efforts, test the word problems, and offer editing advice. Then the work will be ready for prime time! Create a class math book of word problems or set up a Word Problems of the Week learning center!

Assessment

Students will write in their journals what they learned from this activity; journal entries should include what they might do differently next time to improve on this first effort. Then, students might repeat the activity during the following semester, creating a whole new batch of "photograph math" word problems -- even better than their first efforts!

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

**FINE ARTS: Theatre**

NA-T.K-4.4 Directing By Planning Classroom Dramatizations

NA-T.5-8.4 Directing By Planning Classroom Dramatizations

NA-T.9-12.4 Directing By Planning Classroom Dramatizations

**ARTS: Visual Arts**

**LANGUAGE ARTS: English**

NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies

NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge

NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

**MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations**

NM-PROB.PK-12.2 Solve Problems That Arise in Mathematics and in Other Contexts

NM-PROB.PK-12.3 Apply and Adapt a Variety of Appropriate Strategies to Solve Problems

NM-PROB.PK-12.4 Monitor and Reflect on the Process of Mathematical Problem Solving

**MATHEMATICS: Communications**

NM-COMM.PK-12.3 Analyze and Evaluate the Mathematical Thinking and Strategies of Other

**MATHEMATICS: Connections**

NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

**MATHEMATICS: Representation**

NM-REP.PK-12.3 Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena

NT.K-12.4 Technology Communications tools

NT.K-12.5 Technology Research tools

NT.K-12.6 Technology Problem-Solving and Decision-Making tools

Click here to return to this week's "More Math Fun" article.

Have you seen these math resources from the Education World archive?

- Phone Book Math
- Math Fun! -- Five 'Invisible Math' Lessons
- Count on the Census for Math Lessons!
- On-Line Math Tools --- and Activities to Use With Them!
- Use It or Lose It: Puzzles to Exercise the Brain
- Teacher-Submitted Lesson Plans: Math

01/02/2003