K-12 (use this lesson with word problems appropriate for your grade level)
Arts & Humanities
TLW read and answer word problems as a class, in small groups, and on their own.
TLW locate places indoors and outdoors where Math can be used.
TLW stage a photograph that illustrates one of the ways in which they use math.
TLW write his own real-life word problems to accompany the photo.
LA Content Standards: Solve problems involving simple deductive reasoning (D-3-E)
Recognize, select, connect, and use operations, operational words, and symbols (i.e., +, -, x, �
(N-5-E) (N-6-E) (N-9-E)
Determine when and how to estimate, and when and how to use mental math, calculators, or paper/pencil strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems (N-8-E) (N-9-E)
Use number sentences to represent real-life problems involving addition and subtraction (A-1-E) (A-2-E)
Technology Standards: Technology Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Tools
(Problem Solving Foundation Skill)
Students use appropriate technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
Students employ technology for real world problem solving.
Students evaluate the technology selected, the process, and the final results through the use of informed decision-making skills
Technology Productivity Tools (Resource Access and Utilization
Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
Students use productivity tools to work collaboratively in developing technology-rich, authentic, student-centered products
Technology Research Tools (Linking and Generating Knowledge
Students use appropriate technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.
Students use technology tools to process data and report results.
Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
Basic Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
Students are proficient in the use of technology.
Technology Connection: Digital Camera
Microsoft Word or PowerPoint
Explosion Box Template (PPT)
Procedures: Note: Word problems come to life when kids write their own problems and stage photos that illustrate them.
Prior to letting students go off on their own to write word problems, spend a couple of class sessions allowing students to practice reading and solving such problems as a class, in small-groups, and independently. Then spend another day writing word problems as a class and in small groups.
Math word problems can be a difficult concept for many students to master. Why not add some fun to problem solving by having students write their own word problems?
Increase the fun by adding a little theater! Bring word problems to life by challenging students to work together in pairs or small groups to stage photographs of real-life
settings that involve math and to write word problems to go with the photographs.
Anticipatory Set: After students have had some focused practice with word problems, introduce this lesson, in which they work in pairs to think about where they encounter math in their lives. Begin by brainstorming a list of places in which they find math. (Provide a few of the ideas that follow to get them started.) Then encourage students to be creative as they find math in unusual places, dress themselves up, and stage photos...
If you have a digital camera, use it to take the photos, and then enlarge the photos to create vivid images. You might use
student-written word problems as the focus of a Word Problems of the Week learning center in your classroom.
Some "Photograph Math" Photo Opportunities
Students might take a photo of a sign inside a local fastfood restaurant. Depending on their grade and skill levels, they could write problems that involve figuring the cost of different meals, change they would receive from a $10 bill, what they might buy if they only had $2 in their pockets, and so on.
A couple of kids might pose by a street sign that announces how many miles it is to neighboring towns and then create word problems to accompany the photo. Word problems could involve calculating mileage, distances between two points, how long it will take to get from place to place if they travel 35 miles per hour, and so on.
Kids might stand in mannequin-like poses as they model clothing with big price tags attached. Word problems challenge students to figure the cost of the outfits in different combinations, how much change they would get if they paid for a shirt with a $20 bill, how much sales tax would be added to an outfit in your locale, and so on.
Students might strategically locate large items -- such as a trash barrel, a bicycle, and a chair -- on the playground outside their classroom and then take a photo, enlarge it, and attach a scale that indicates (for example) that every
inch on the photo equals 20 feet. The problem could ask students to figure out the distance between the trash barrel and the bicycle, whether the trash barrel is closer to the bicycle or the chair, how much closer one item is to another, and so on.
Students might dress up as characters from a book, TV show, or popular movie, pose themselves in a funny scene, and write problems that relate to the characters, the book, or the show.
Modeling: TTW show the class a 2 pictures ( Teacher
Picture Examples) The questions for the pictures are on the pictures. If you have a SMART Board, you can place this PPT into the Notebook file and use the ruler in the gallery. If not, TT can print and allow students to measure to get the answer. TTW call attention to how she took a picture of something from her farm and created a Math problem with it.
Guided Practice: TTW use the 3 rd slide in the Teacher
Picture Examples to complete with the students. She will ask them to look closely at the picture of her home. Then she will ask the class to think about geometry. What is geometry? TSW give answers. Using Geometry as our theme, what questions can we write for this picture? TTW use text boxes to write the students questions. Then
TTW reveal the question she wrote earlier. If you have a
SMART Board, this would be a wonderful lesson to do with it because you can get them to come to the board and write their questions.
Independent Practice: TSW get a digital camera and go on a digital picture Math walk. TS can take pictures inside or outside. TSW find at least 5 pictures that they can use to write a Math word problem. This next part can either
be done in a lab, classroom, or at home. After taking the pictures, they will insert the pictures in PowerPoint or
Word. The students will use a text box to write a word problem for the picture. TS can format the text box any way they choose. TS can write more than 1 question for the picture. The picture should be the size of a half a sheet of paper. After pairs/groups have created their photos and word problems, encourage them to meet with
School: another pair/group to critique each other’s efforts, test the word problems, and offer editing advice. Then the work will be ready for prime time! TS will print and cut them out use the Kagan Structure Send-A-Problem.
Extension: TS will create an Explosion Box. See the
Explosion Box Template for directions. TSW place their digital pictures in the box in the template, cut them out and then paste them in the explosion box. TS will then write their questions on another flap of the explosion box.
Review/Closure: Create a class math book of word problems or set up a Word Problems of the Week learning center!
a collection of grade-appropriate math word problems from math texts, work sheet sources, etc. (if needed for your grade level)
scrapbooking items (optional)
Directions for Explosion Box
Students will write in their journals what they learned from this activity; journal entries should include what they might do differently next time to improve on this first effort. Then, students might repeat the activity during the following semester, creating a whole new batch of
"photograph math" word problems -- even better than their first efforts!
C. M. Fagan