Whole Language Approach in Solving Word Problems

Barbara Thomas Langston Hughes School
226 W. 104th Street
Chicago IL 60628


To formulate addition and subtraction problems of whole numbers. To relate
everyday language to mathematics meaningfully. To use problem-solving
approaches to investigate and understand mathematical content. To identify
point of view in a selection.

Materials needed:

1. The Real Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
2. The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone
3. Math vocabulary cards for words such as the following:
altogether in all many more
each left total
4. Reading vocabulary cards for the following words:
Al blow brick cake granny house jail
Magic Michael newspaper Sean stick straw
5. Crayons
6. Pencils
7. Plus and minus cards for every child
8. Head bands for three pigs (pink) and one wolf (brown)
9. Ditto to make equations
10. Objects to represent story problems (books, balls, pencils)


This presentation is appropriate for use with primary children. The
teacher will review the story of the The Three Little Pigs. After discussion,
the teacher will call four students to represent the characters of the story.
The teacher will have students answers questions from a card listing age,
favorite toy and food and how much money each character has. Using the
characters the teacher will review the story and make up story problems and
answer them.

Read The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. Ask appropriate questions about
the story. Give the pretest. Give story problems orally having the students
put the correct answer only on the test. After the pretest, the teacher will go
over the story problems using role playing with the students. Explain to the
students that we must find a better way to solve story problems.

Introduce the math vocabulary words. Tell them that each word has a
correct operation. Example: "in all" means to add (+) or "many more" means to
subtract (-). Pass out the + and - cards. As you say a story problem, have
students hold up the correct card. You may also have students make up story
problems orally. Another student will give the answer.

Performance Assessment:

Tell the students that you forgot to tell them that they must decide who is
telling the truth, the pig or the wolf. They must write some sentences telling
who they believe and why. Also draw a picture.

Finally the students will write story problems using the above math
vocabulary words.


Students should know that many people contributed to the development of
modern arithmetic and the origins of arithmetic are international.


The student will be able to identify key words in solving addition and
subtraction word problems.
The student will be able to identify point of view in a selection.

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