Do your students dread word problems?

Lots of children love math because it’s all about numbers, right? So when we throw lots of words at them, they’re like “whoa whoa whoa, this is not math, this is reading!”

how to solve word problems and make word problems fun

Don’t throw in the towel just yet, though. We know our students need consistent word problem practice. Solving word problems is an important life skill, so as their teachers, we need to come through and keep giving our students multiple opportunities to solve these pesky word problems.

But it doesn’t have to be boring, stressful or dreadful! I promise.

Here’s a fun activity that’ll actually get your students excited about solving word problems and dare I say it…make word problems fun.

Okay let’s dig into this blog post so I can show you one of the ways I make word problems fun and engaging for students.

how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9

Fun Word Problems for 2nd Graders, 3rd Graders, and 4th Graders with this Activity

With this word problems activity, we’re going to combine fun + cute + rigor.

All students, regardless of grade level, deserve to have fun during school so let’s not take that away. When I taught 4th grade, the level of joy and excitement I saw when they got to do any sort of crafts was so sweet. Yes, they’re big kids, but big kids are still kids. And all kids deserve to do fun things in school. I realize that’s my opinion but I’m sticking to it because I’ve seen the positive impact fun activities can have on student learning and their willingness to learn! 🙂

I understand the stress we feel from state tests and the pressure to GO GO GO, but it’s okay to pause, take a break from the normal routine, and interject some fun crafts into math time.

Related Post: Fun Math Activities that will Skyrocket Student Engagement After Winter Break

First: Students Solve the Six Word Problems.

First, you’ll give the the word problems sheet along with the craft sheet.

Students will start by solving the six word problems. I feel this is the perfect amount of word problems to complete during a math rotation or during whole group math time (some teachers like to do this on Fridays). In the pictures below, you’ll see that students will be building a snowman.

how to teach word problems to 2nd graders and make word problems fun
2nd graders will solve the word problems in order to build the adorable snowman. Click the image to buy this activity for your class.
how to teach word problems to 3rd graders
3rd graders will solve the word problems in order to build the adorable snowman. Click the image to buy this activity for your class.
how to teach word problems to 4th graders
4th graders will solve the word problems in order to build the adorable snowman. Click the image to buy this activity for your class.

Students can also Build a…

In other sets, students can build a love monster for some Valentine’s Day math, a turkey during Thanksgiving time, a holiday sweater during December, just to name a few.

how to solve word problems and make word problems fun
Students will solve the six word problems in order to build a cute turkey! This is from the 3rd grade set.
how to solve word problems and make word problems fun
Solving word problems becomes much more motivating when students can build a cute turkey!

Second: Students Find the Correct Answer

As students have solved the word problems, they’ll check the craft sheet to see if their answer is on a particular piece. This allows the students to self-correct, which I think is so valuable in a child’s learning. If they don’t see the answer, this tells the student they need to check their work and solve again.

In the picture below you’ll see that the correct answers were circled.

how to teach word problems to 2nd graders and make word problems fun

Here’s another example where you’ll see the student coloring the correct answer.

For example, word problem #4 matches the sweater (answer 388).

how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9

Third: Students Begin Coloring and Cutting the Pieces

Now let’s get to the fun part. Students get to color and cut the pieces in order to begin the building process! This keeps the engagement and focus high.

Fourth: Students Get to Build and Glue to Create their Final Product

Let the glueing and building begin. Students will now get to glue and put together their snowman (or whichever word problem craft they’re working on-you can see the different craft options here).

how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9
how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9

More Examples of the Finished Word Problem Crafts:

Take a look at the finished holiday sweater from the December set and the Leprechaun that’s perfect for March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

How CUTE are these, though?! So fun, right?

Solving Word Problems can be Fun!

See, solving word problems doesn’t have to be boring. Sometimes we just need different ways to spice it up a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I do implement a daily word problem prompt in my classroom, where students glue the math problem strips into their journals, show their work, solve, etc. You can find 2nd grade word problems here and 3rd grade word problems here.

But, sometimes it’s nice to switch it up and break from the normal routine.

Join me in making math fun! You can find all Solve it to Build it word problem craft sets below (just click the button for your grade level).

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how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9
how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9
how to solve word problems and make word problems fun 9

Nesli