Story Problem – A Trip to the Bakery

This set of story problems resists easy answers, but can be cracked if students build models or draw pictures of the situation. For students who finish early, have them create their own “Trip to the Bakery” story problem.


Story Problem – The Monster

For this long-form story problem, read the story to your class first, then give them the questions to answer, and the story as a reference. Optional artistic tie-in: draw a picture of the monster. Optional challenge: write another question about the story.

Pyramid Puzzles

Pyramid puzzles are a fun and deceptively tricky puzzle. Sometimes these can’t be done without some risk taking—encourage guessing and checking, and learning from the inevitable mistakes, especially on the harder puzzles. More on Pyramid Puzzles here.

The Calendar Problem

Topics: Multiplication, addition, Materials: Calendar, Hundreds chart, pencil and paper, calculator (optional) Common Core: 4.OA.1, 4.OA.3, 4.OA.5, 4.NBT.5, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP6, MP7, MP8 How can you add up these numbers so quickly? Why we love this lesson Simple to launch, instantly engaging and accessible, this puzzle is a beautiful demonstration of the usefulness of multiplication. Not only that, figuring …


The Power of 37

Topics: Multiplication, patterns, Materials: Pencil & paper Common Core: 4.NBT.1, 4.NBT.5, 5.OA.1, 5.OA.2, 5.NBT.5, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP6, MP7, MP8. How does multiplying by 37 have this strange effect? This problems in multiplication is designed to give students the practice they need once they understand the basic idea of multiplication, with a context to provide motivation and deeper understanding. The …



Topics: Multiplication, area, strategy, addition. Materials: Crayons, Blockout game sheet Recommended Grades: 3, 4 Common Core: 3.OA.A.1, 3.OA.C.7, 3.MD.C.6, 3.MD.C.7 Roll the dice and shade in a rectangle. How can you claim the most space on the board? For 2-4 players. Why We Love Blockout This is one of those rare games that reinforces both the skill of multiplication and the …

Square Building

Topics: Area, multiplication, number patterns
, geometry Grade: 3, 4, 5 Materials: Square tiles, graph paper Common Core: 3.MD.5, 3.MD.6, 3.MD.7, 4.OA.1, 4.NBT.5, 4.MD.3, 5.NBT.5, 
MP1, MP2, MP3, MP5, MP6, MP7, MP8 This lesson is truly foundational. It connects central ideas of arithmetic and geometry, and advances from concrete to pictorial to abstract. It will prove to be a simple analogy …

1-2 Nim

Topics: logic, patterns, addition, counting, subtraction, divisibility and remainders (optional) Materials: Counters (tiles, beans, pennies, etc.) or paper and pencil Recommended Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4 Common Core: K.CC.A.2, K.CC.B.4, K.CC.B.5, K.OA.A.1, K.OA.A.2, K.OA.A.5, 1.OA.B.4, 1.OA.C.5, 2.OA.B.2, 3.OA.D.9, 3.OA.A.2, 3.OA.A.3, 4.OA.C.5, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP5, MP7, MP8 You can take one or two counters from the pile. How do …

Counting Collections

Topics: Counting, skip counting, addition, multiplication (optional) Materials: Paper, pencil, objects of many types (button, beans, stones, pencils, markers, blocks, etc.) Target Grades: K, 1, 2, 3 Common Core: K.CC.A.1, K.CC.A.2, K.CC.A.3, K.CC.B.4, K.CC.B.5, K.MD.B.3, 1.NBT.A.1, 1.NBT.B.2, 1.NBT.B.2.a, 1.NBT.B.2.b, 1.NBT.B.2.c, 2.OA.C.4, 3.OA.A.1, MP1, MP6 Kids love to count things. This is a simple exercise, but a great way to get kids excited about arithmetic. Counting …