Problem Solving With Farmer Bob
Farmer Bob goes to see his animals. The animals are all mixed up in different areas. He sees 10 legs. Which animals might he see?
That's just one of the problems that my students worked on in the past few weeks. In this blog, you can see many examples of the really cool work that my students did.
Concepts and skills are important, BUT... the ultimate goal is for students to apply these concepts and skills appropriately during problem solving.
Recently, I created two problem solving packets for my students.
In Farmer Bob's Farm Packet #1, students solve problems related to how many animal legs there are. I chose cows, spiders, bees, and chickens so there would be animals with different numbers of legs. This allowed me to create problems where students would use their knowledge of structuring numbers such as five and some more, doubles, sums of ten, and the skills of counting by multiples as well as other skills they had been exploring all year in first grade.
In Farmer Bob's Farm Packet #2, students solve problems related to how many legs and also how much money it would cost to buy the animals. I chose cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, and horses with a variety of prices attached to each animal. This allowed me to create problems where students would use their knowledge of structuring numbers I listed above as well as other skills. In both packets, some students were using multiplication to solve the problems.
I asked students to draw and write how they solved the problems. Many students solved the problems mentally before even drawing the pictures. When students shared their strategies either to the whole class or just with me, I wrote down what they said. I included some of their oral explanations below along with their work.
You can see some of the problems from Farmer Bob's Farm Packet #1 and #2 with the students' answers below:
I was so excited to see my students using many of the concepts and skills we have been exploring all school year. Almost all of my students have moved from using unitary (count by one) strategies to using composite (non-count by one) strategies.
In the book, Developing Number Knowledge, Robert J. Wright, et. al, 2012, states:
"It is critical that students' early arithmetical thinking progresses from being based on counting by ones to being based on structuring numbers."
That's what my numeracy explorations all throughout the day and the year are all about: structuring numbers. Check out my Math Path for more information.
If you would like a copy of Farmer Bob's Farm Packet #1 and #2, click here. You can download them on Teachers Pay Teachers for $0.99.