Flashback: The main lesson in this series of videos was recorded on video in Mia Buljan’s class in February 2015, by which time the students were familiar with using “Diva’s Stickers” as a structure to think about “put-together” problems.

Mia had first introduced “Diva’s Stickers” to her students back in August 2014, on the third day of the school year. In this clip from that August lesson, we see Mia introduce her students to her idea of a problem in which Diva, a student in the class, has a certain amount of stickers, and wants to buy some more. Mia invited her students to “think, think in your head—who’s in this story, and what are they doing?”

Her students engaged in a turn-and-talk to share their ideas with each other. Mia then reminded students that they need to look at the problem to find the story and find the numbers.

She invited pairs of students up to the front of the classroom to model the problem with Unifix Cubes, and asked students whether the problem is a “put-together” problem or a “take-apart” problem. The students tried out different solution strategies for the problem, and Mia described these strategies to the whole group.

2nd grade math - addition & subtraction word problems with unknowns*Mia Buljan, Glassbrook Elementary School, Hayward Unified School District, Hayward, California*

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I tell my students that all you can do in math is “have an idea and test it.” I want them to understand the power of proving their ideas.