Springy Story Problems

I love teaching math and story problems are no exception! But story problems sure can be tricky! Especially with all those words ;)

When I'm teaching my students how to solve story problems, we talk about all the important parts of each problem. We circle the numbers and underline the important words. We fully dissect the problem before we even start! Then we use manipulatives to "act out" the problem. Sometimes real manipulatives, sometimes paper ones. Then the students can glue their manipulatives down and write their equation.

We also do the same thing for subtraction story problems! This time though, we start with the total and take objects away. When using the paper manipulatives, we glue the total down, then cross off the ones we want to take away.

You can also introduce your students to missing addends story problems! These are definitely a challenge! When we dissect these problems, we put a box around the "unknown number", in this case "some". After gluing down the 3 grasshoppers, we use our counting on strategy and glue down ladybugs until we reach the total number of bugs. Then we put a box around the ladybugs to show how many we added. Finally, I have my students put a box around the missing addend in their equations. This really helps them to see how they're all connected. We also talk about how our answers to a story problem won't always be the total. 

One of my favorite things to do with story problems is to make class books. You can check them out {here} in a realllly old Pre-Printerest post ;) These would also be great to put in sheet protectors and stick in a math tub. Your students can practice story problems over and over again!
If you're interested in using these springy story problems in your classroom, you can check them out in my TpT store!

I also have an Addition & Subtraction Story Problems Bundle which includes story problems that can be used throughout the whole year! They are organized by season so you can choose which ones you want your students to work on at any given time of the year. You can check them out below!


  1. Nice! As a kid I always liked to draw my own doodles, but I know a lot of kids don't.
    I enjoyed seeing you at the SCKC : )
    ~Lucy at Kids Math Teacher

  2. I love this! You are spot on with story problems being tricky! I have some students who are having a hard time learning the procedure of them! I like how you described how you dissect them and circle the important stuff!
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!