Tracy circulates around the classroom helping students understand the meaning of "more."

2nd Grade Math - Word Problem Clues*Tracy Lewis, Anna Yates Elementary School, Emery Unified School District, Emeryville, California*

Next Up: Debrief

Previous: Lesson - Part 7

TEACHER COLLEAGUE: 36 students got on the bus, they waited until all 63 students were there. How many were supposed to be on that bus?

STUDENT: 63.

TEACHER COLLEAGUE: 63. And how many got on the bus?

STUDENT: 36.

TEACHER COLLEAGUE: 36. How many students were late? So 63 were supposed to be there. 36 got on the bus. How many students were late to the bus?

TEACHER COLLEAGUE: So I'm going to go ahead and just leave it be, and you can make any changes you want on your paper, or you can just leave your answer the way it is, okay? Thanks for sharing your thinking and talking to me today.

TRACY LEWIS: Add on? Oh! Don't change my 45. This is still 65 cents.

TRACY LEWIS: All right, friends, finish up what you're working on, and we'll talk more about this tomorrow. We'll talk more about it tomorrow. So here's what we're going to do.

TRACY LEWIS: I know we're having a little bit of trouble with the pens because they're brand new. I need you to sit down. No, I need you to sit down.

TRACY LEWIS: So here's your ticket to snack. Finish your last statement, and you should have either changed something or added something on to what you were doing, or tell Ms. Lewis where you get stuck.

TRACY LEWIS: Put the papers together, put the top on the pen, and give me a thumbs up and I will come around and collect your paper. That is your ticket to snack.

TRACY LEWIS: If you're working with manipulatives, go ahead and put those things away. Chanesse, please go collect pens. Thank you. Ms. Lewis is actually going to collect the papers, thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

TRACY LEWIS: Oh! This friend is ready. Thank you, thank you, Sarah, you can go back to your desk. Thank you. Oh! Thank you. Thank you.

TRACY LEWIS: Ah! Okay, I saw what you did, I see what you were thinking now.

My twin students felt that buying both pens addressed the dilemma of figuring out how many more. In this case, slowing down and restating the problem in a different way may have helped, such as "You have $.48 in your pocket. How much more money is needed to buy the $.65 pen?" The wording of the problem is challenging for these students. Students have practiced adding "more" in kindergarten and first grade, so their first instinct is to add, without considering the context in which "more" is being used. This process provides opportunity for students to discover and practice the context of "more." The hope was they would explore and discover counting up with large numbers. For some kids, they were able to get there. But the concept of "more" and how it's used in the context of a word problem is critical for students to understand. Students who misunderstand the use of the word "more" may quickly go down the wrong solution road.