These classroom activities are designed to complement the Choosing an Operation topic on BrainPOP Jr.

Run through examples of different math word problems that involve addition or subtraction and review them with the whole class. Then team up students into pairs. Have each partner write a problem that involves addition or subtraction, and have the other partner solve. Then have the partners discuss. How did they know which operation to use to solve? Be sure each partner shows their solution, either by way of number sentence or by using manipulatives. Have pairs share their problems with the class.

Six Marbles

Give small groups six marbles or other small objects to use as counters. Challenge each group to come up with as many word problems as they can that involve the six marbles. For example, one problem might be, “I have 3 marbles and I get 3 more. How many marbles do I have in all?” or “There are 6 friends and 6 marbles. How many marbles does each person get?” Encourage students to explore different operations, including division. Have small groups share their problems with the class.

Taking Sides

Divide the classroom into two different sides representing addition and subtraction. Then pose a word problem, such as “I want to collect 10 stamps. I have 3 stamps so far. How many more stamps do I need?” Then have students walk to the side of the classroom representing the operation they need to use to solve the problem. Discuss each problem with the class. How did they know which operation to use? If appropriate, you can do the same activity using multiplication and division, or as an added challenge, use all four operations.