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Word Problem Sorts

Just like vocabulary sorts, students work in groups, except this time they are sorting word problems. They are not asked to solve these problems, just reason about which operation is needed to use to solve the problem.
 
Students are given various word problems and read them with their group. Then, they discuss which mathematical operation would allow them to solve the problem. Again, start with two operations at first and then work up to all four. For example, students would sort addition vs. subtraction word problems, then maybe addition vs. multiplication. The discussion part here is also crucial because students thought about their decisions and even debated with others.
 
 
Students should use the vocabulary and mathematical language from activities like Act-it-Out (e.g, “This problem tells me to add because it says to join together…”). Practice, modeling, and reference charts help students with these discussions. This activity was also done daily and could take as little as 5 minutes, depending on the number of word problems you give the students.