*Represent the quantities of objects in as many as three categories, using drawings or charts.*

If only we had a way to help them truly process the problem and understand what they were being asked to solve. It’s a strategy called, Numberless Word Problems…and it’s so easy to implement. In fact, a numberless word problem isn’t entirely numberless, it just starts out that way.

There IS a way to significantly help your students better understand and solve story problems. When I initially heard of numberless math word problems my first thoughts were, “No way! All numbers are removed temporarily while students process what the situation is and determine what information is needed to solve the problem. So, I said a little prayer for good luck and jumped right in to using numberless word problems with my first graders.

Student pairs used cutouts of cones and scoops to assemble then record the different combinations.

Stoplights requires students to use an orderly counting method to discover how many different stoplights can be made using a combination of red, green and yellow blocks.

Count in a Minute: First graders at Flynn School in Perth Amboy, NJ, used post-its to create a line plot of how high they could count in a minute.

Students then analyzed the data to decide how high most first graders could count.

Heads & Tails Data Collection requires students to decide if a two coin tossing game is fair or not if one player wins if the coins match (both heads or both tails) and the other player wins if the coins do not match (one heads and one tails).

Ice Cream Cones: First grade teachers at Flynn School in Perth Amboy, NJ, asked students to figure out how many different 3-scoop ice cream cones they could make make using chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams.

Students may use linking cubes to model the stoplights and record combinations by coloring the sheet appropriately.

I know my first reaction is, “Oh, pleeeeeease give me a cup of coffee, or a frappuccino for a sugar boost, this is going to be one loooong day!

## Comments First Grade Math Problem Solving

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