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Problem Solving Practice

This is the time of year when it all comes together.  The hours and hours of hard work are on the line for the big, important state test.  Kids are not only practicing the skills they’ve learned this year, but also applying them with increasing difficulty.

Early in the year, I shared this image of our problem solving wall.

We start practicing problem solving very early on in the year.  No matter how much we practice, the kids still seem to struggle putting things into application independently.

A couple months ago, I started these daily story problems.  They’re tough.  I have tried to build in days where kids will really struggle to find the answer.  I’ve also included days that most third graders can figure out the answer independently.  I want the rigor to be there, but I also want my students to explore strategies we’ve practiced. I want them to take risks and see what they come up with.  I want them to work together and brainstorm.

I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen them do.  They’ve become more confident in their skills.  They’ve been more successful.  And, PTL, they’ve been actually beginning to apply some of the strategies you see above.  We started in March and continued through April.  I just finished May and so we’ll be starting that in a day or two.


A variety of difficult third grade skills are included: elapsed time, area, perimeter, and fractions are just a few.  I try to include different formats, and ask students to show their answers in many different ways.  By being multi-step, some problems also include multiple skills for practice.

If you want to try these out with your kids, just click on the pictures above or click here to go to the listing on TpT.  Click the Preview file to get four free pages.

While we’ve begun to use those sets as daily, spiral practice and group work, we’ve also been using my other sets to practice the various skills we’ve learned.

This bundle includes my Mixed Operations, Multiplication and Division, Elapsed Time, and Area and Perimeter sets.  Throughout the year, we’ve used these story problems as task cards to help us take our skills to the next level after learning them.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but TpT is having a sale in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.  My store is 20% off, and TpT will throw in an additional 10% off with code TPTXO.  Click on the image below to head to my store if you want to check it out.


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