WORD PROBLEMS with Miss Hutter

Addition & Subtraction

Central Focus :

Students are having difficulties with identifying key words within addition and subtraction word problems which are clues to how they are going to solve the problem. This lesson & learning activities are geared towards students becoming more familiar with these keywords, and using these keywords for creating their own problems.


  • Students will recognize key words within addition and subtraction word problems and use them when creating their own problems
  • Students will work in cooperative groups to find keywords and solve selected word problems
  • Students will brainstorm ideas with partner and will create 2 word problems for the classroom booklet
  • Students will analyze and explain how to solve their two word problems they've created


  • Word problem activity guide/computer/polyvision/internet
  • word problem cards & scrap paper for groups
  • template for creating word problems for booklet



  • discussion/ checking for understanding throughout the lesson

  • observation of students working with partners on solving practice problems

  • observation of students working with their partner to create problems


  • Student created +/- word problems & how to solve (on back)

Accommodations & Modifications:

  • preselected groups of students to create problems together (adult aid)
  • amount of problems to solve/practice & amount made for booklet

Instructional Strategies and Learning Tasks

Step 1: Discussion of addition & keywords...

  • discuss addition keywords
  • do addition examples as class, identifying keywords within the problem

KEY WORDS for Addition

  • combine
  • together
  • total
  • plus
  • sum
  • altogether
  • in all
  • increase

Doug found 6 toy cars in the toy box. Jill found 7 more toy cars. How many total toy cars did Doug and Jill find?

  • what are key words?
  • how do we solve?

Jenny saw 10 movies last year. This year, she saw 2 movies. How many movies did Jenny see in both years?

  • what are key words?
  • how do we solve?

Step 2: Discussion of subtraction & keywords...

  • discuss subtraction keywords
  • do subtraction examples as class & identify keywords within the problem

KEY WORDS for Subtraction

  • take away
  • difference
  • minus
  • decrease
  • left
  • more than
  • fewer
  • less than

At Toys 'R US, a doll costs $4 less than a toy truck. A toy truck costs $12. How much does a doll cost?

  • what are key words?
  • how do we solve?

Mr. Smith owns a farm. He has 12 pigs. He is going to sell 2 pigs next week. How many pigs will he have left?

  • what are key words?
  • how do we solve?

Step 3: Practice problems with your partner/group

  • Students will complete practice addition & subtraction problems assigned with their selected group
  • Students will circle/highlight any keywords
  • Students will share keywords & how to solve 1 of their problems with the class

Step 4: Create Word Problems

  • Students will create "rough draft" of word problems (1 addition & 1 subtraction)
  • Students will show how to solve the problem on the back
  • We will add them to our Addition & Subtraction - Word Problem Booklet