Literature/Math Crossover Lesson Plan - Word Problems

Author: Marc Sheehan

Description: I will read the story "I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!" from the Dr. Seuss book of the same title. I think that this book is easy enough for my first grade class to understand. It is also an entertaining selection.

Grade: First

Materials: "I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!" by Dr. Seuss, pencils and paper for activity

Time Required: Approximately 30-35 minutes

Content Objectives: This story involves subtraction. The main character reduces the number of opponents through various excuses. The number goes from 30 to 29 to 22, etc. It can be seen as a giant word problem.

Process Objectives: It is important for students to build up operational skills like subtraction. This story is also an interesting example of a word problem -- if the cat (the main character) started with 30 tigers and ended with 1, how many tigers were sent away?

Intelligences Engaged: I think that this activity will engage the students word comprehension abilities and also their abilities to perform math operations.

Links To Long-Term Planning: The children have already been introduced to subtraction. I plan to build upon that knowledge by introducing them to word problems. I think that they have the necessary skills of word comprehension and knowledge of subtraction to work a word problem.

Special Needs: Students who have difficulty in math can work on basic math operations instead of doing the story problems. Students with Developmental Delay can listen to the story and work on counting. Students with a learning disability can use manipulatives to help them plan out their story problem, or they can also draw out the problem instead of writing it out. Students who need extension activities can work at more difficult problems (higher operations, more steps, bigger numbers).

Lesson Intro. & Poss. Questions: I plan to tell the children to pay special attention to the story so that they will be able to answer the various word problems the story implicitly contains. I imagine that the exchange would start like this:

"If the cat started with 30 tigers and now has 22 tigers, how many did he send away?"

There are a number of places in the story that are tailor-made for such questions as the cat reduces the number of potential opponents. Other questions that will probably come up are: Why does the cat keep sending the tigers away? Why does he want to fight the tigers?

Intro. of Activity: Once the story is finished and the questions are answered, I will have the students think of a word problem of their own. They will do this at their desks in their pre-assigned learning groups. I will ask that the problems be short (2-3 sentences) and that the problem be something that can be answered by the class. A possible set of instructions: "I want you to think of a word problem in your groups. The problems will be just like the ones we discussed today. The problems should be no more than 2-3 sentences long and be something that the class can answer." I will collect all of the problems (and their answers -- the groups will provide the answers to the problems) when they are finished. I will type them onto a sheet and hand out copies to the class as an extra credit assignment. Anyone who answers all of the problems correctly will get a prize. (e.g. a sticker)

Closure: I plan to close this lesson through the afore-mentioned follow-up activity of creating word problems that can be shared with the class. The extra credit activity will help strengthen the word problem knowledge.

Assessment: My assessment will be both informal and formal. The informal assessment will be done through my asking and answering questions of and from the students as they work to create a word problem. Formal assessment will come as I collect the problems to see if they are correct and also understandable. The extra-credit activity will provide another assessment opportunity. I think that my earlier explanation of the criteria during the introduction of the activity will adequately communicate my requirements.

Awarded January 29, 2009

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