M. Elaine Granger Irvin C. Mollison
4415 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60616


The sixth through eighth grade students will be able to:

1) Understand word problems by use of reasoning techniques
2) Identify the validity or non-validity of the problems
3) Discern which factors are needed for problem resolution
4) Use deduction strategies for problem resolution


All materials listed are for an entire class

Overhead projector
worksheets and charts
coins (pennies & dimes)
box of toothpicks
plastic shapes (triangle, rectangle, parallelogram, & square)
forty buttons
a medium size box


1 a. Work in teams of three to four students
Distribute the plastic shapes
Explain to the students that there is a set time limit
Arrange shapes into required pattern(s)
Work cooperatively in teams

b. Work individually to solve another pattern puzzle

c. Have 6 to 12 students work independently while others are working in
teams to solve another pattern puzzle

2. Define the word logic

3. Illustrate a logical sequence

4. Illustrate an illogical sequence

5 a. Discuss how logic can be used in daily lifestyles

b. Discuss how logic can be used to solve word problems

6 a. Distribute 12 toothpicks to each student
Place toothpicks into geometric shapes drawn on the chalkboard
Remove the required number of toothpicks to form new shapes

b. Ask students to explain what they did
Organize the steps taken into a logical process

7. Have students preview the handout sheets
Ask students what they think they will need to do
Discuss ways to solve similar problems
Have students find the solutions
Work individually and in teams (as time permits)

8. Distribute the coins to each set of teams
Review problem with students
Have students find the solutions
Explore and discuss whether more than one solution is possible

9. As a follow up to this lesson have students make up word problems
Exchange problems and work in teams for solutions


Students should feel more comfortable with establishing a process for solving
word problems. Teachers should solicit and generate all kinds of questioning
about the use of reasoning, elimination, and deduction to solve word problems.
The overall process should be both informative and enjoyable.

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