**Welcome to the Breaking Down the Standards Series. Now that we have covered all things ADDITION & SUBTRACTION, this post will be a deep dive into first grade word problems. First grade problem solving will be one of the most challenging topics you’ll cover, so you’ll want to be aware of the Common Core / TEKs standards to help your students get the most out of your lessons.**

## 1. First Grade Word Problems Standards:

To see the First Grade Problem Solving Standards for the Common Core and the TEKS, click the image above.

## 2. The Vertical Alignment for First Grade Problem Solving

Vertical Alignment for First Grade Word Problems is so important when planning your lessons. We need to examine not only the first grade standards, but also Kindergarten and 2nd grade standards as well. You need to know what your students should already know and also what they should know when their first grade year is over. Vertical alignment looks at the Kindergarten Standards as well as the Second Grade Standards and sets you and your students up for SUCCESS! Click the image above to see the Vertical Alignment.

**Kindergarten: **Can solve addition and subtraction word problems within 10 by using objects, drawings or number sentences to represent the problem.

**1st Grade: **Need to Learn: See #3 – The Breakdown

**2nd Grade:**(1.) Preparing to: Add/Subtract within 100, solve multi-step word problems within 1,000 using place value and algorithms. (2.) Generate problem situations when given an addition or subtraction number sentence of whole numbers within 1,000.

**Need Second Grade Resources? Check these out from my friend Cynthia at My Kind of Teaching**

3. The Breakdown: First Grade **Word Problems**

3. The Breakdown: First Grade

**When examining the standards to create the most productive and engaging lessons, keep your eye on the ****verbs****. I’ve highlighted them in red. The ****verbs**** tell what your students will be doing to learn the standards.**

When first graders leave first grade, they should be able to: (focus on the **verbs** in red)

**Solve**Word Problems within 20 involving addition and subtraction with**unknowns in all****positions.****Generate**and**Solve**problems when given a number sentence involving addition and subtraction of numbers within 20.

**First Grade Problem Solving Recommended Progression:**

- Find the Sum (Friends of 10)
- Find the Sum (Within 10)
- Find the Sum (Within 20)
- Find the Missing Addend (Friends of 10)
- Find the Missing Addend (Within 10)
- Find the Missing Addend (Within 20)
- Find the Difference (Friends of 10)
- Find the Difference (Within 10)
- Find the Difference (Within 20)
- Comparing to find the Difference (How many more/fewer)
- Find the missing Subtrahend (Friends of 10) 10 – ___ = 6
- Find the Missing Subtrahend (Within 10) 9 – ___ = 5
- Find the Missing Subtrahend (Within 20) 16 – ___ – 10

## Let’s Get Started

**Word Problems** **Manipulatives** – The words **“****Using ****Objects****“** is used over and over in the standards when the focus is on addition and subtraction. Make sure you have some kind of manipulatives for your student to use as they solve word problems.

**My Favorite Manipulatives: **

- Two Sided Counters
- Unifix Cubes
- Snap Cubes
- 6 Colored Disks

**2 Sided Counters, Snap Cubes and 6 Colored Counters are my favorites but use whatever you have.**

**Ahead of time, place 20 Snap Cubes or Two-Sided Counters in a baggie, ready to pass out to students. **

**4. Mini Lesson – Introduce First Grade Word Problems**

On a piece of chart paper, write out the following story problem. Leave room for pictorial model below.

**Grace had 6 new pencils. Rex had 4 new pencils. How many new pencils did Grace and Rex have? **

Change the names to something familiar and meaningful to your students.

Read the chart altogether. Draw the pictures and create a number sentence to solve the problem. When complete, restate the question in the form of an answer.

**Example: Grace and Rex had 10 pencils altogether. **This step should be done with each word problem. At this time, students should be asking themselves if the answer makes sense. This step should be done each time a child completes a word problem.

**Mini Lesson Idea:**

Use the progression from above and create a new chart with another word problem, getting progressively more difficult.

- Find the Sum (Friends of 10)
- Find the Sum (Within 10)
- Find the Sum (Within 20)
- Find the Missing Addend (Friends of 10)
- Find the Missing Addend (Within 10)
- Find the Missing Addend (Within 20)
- Find the Difference (Friends of 10)
- Find the Difference (Within 10)
- Find the Difference (Within 20)
- Comparing to find the Difference (How many more/fewer)
- Find the missing Subtrahend (Friends of 10)
- Find the Missing Subtrahend (Within 10)
- Find the Missing Subtrahend (Within 20)

**First Grade Word Problem Discussion Points: Use these points each time you solve a word problem with your students.**

- Read the problem altogether.
- Circle the important details that will assist with solving the problem.
- Underline or circle the question, so you can answer it later.
- Draw a pictorial model of what the word problem is saying. Use lines or dots for this. You can also use blank ten frames. Otherwise, your math lesson will become a drawing exercise. Tell the students this and let them know that each line or dot represents the objects in the word problem.
- Ask the students if you will Add or Subtract. Then ask them how they know this.
- Solve the problem using addition or subtraction by creating a number sentence.
- Give the answer using a sentence that restates the question.
- Finally, ask if the answer makes sense.

## Word Problems Key Words

Some teachers like to expose their first grade students to Key Word for problem solving. Sometimes this can cause difficulty if the student is unable to explain the “WHY” part. Click the image below to grab the FREE Key Words Posters. As you come across these terms, ask your students what they think the terms mean. Then ask them **WHY**.

## 5. First Grade Word Problems Practice

For your 1st graders to master the Common Core and TEKS Standards for problem solving, they will need practice for each step. This includes:

- Find the Sum
- Find the Difference
- Solve for the Missing Numbers in all Positions (Compare to find the Difference, Missing Addends & Subtrahends)

This can be done in a systematic way by using the editable template provided. **Click the image below to grab the FREEBIE**. To use it as a Google Slides resource, use as-is when you click the image. To use as a PowerPoint file, download the file from Google Drive and save it to your computer. You will most likely have to change the fonts to fit your needs.

**6. First Grade Problem Solving Small Group Instruction: A Systematic Approach**

Start with the least level of difficulty and move toward the greatest level of difficulty. This free resource has 12 1st Grade Word Problems that follow the progression above. It also includes an editable page so teachers can create their own word problem cards to use in their small group. **Click the image below to download these FREEBIES**

**Grab the editable templates here. **To use that as a Google Slides resource, use as-is when you click the image. For PowerPoint: Download the PowerPoint file from Google Drive and edit in PowerPoint.

**To keep practicing Basic Facts and the Related Skills, you might also like these: **

**7. The Learning Centers: First Grade Word Problems**

It’s time to practice first grade problem solving. There are so many ways to do this, ie. Learning Centers, Worksheets, Games… etc. So, I created this new resource that is fun and engaging! Introducing… **Halloween Game Show **(like Jeopardy)**. ***Click on the image to check it out on TpT.*

**Here’s how Halloween Game Show works:**

Students can be in teams, partners or may choose to work independently. They will choose a category and an amount, and a recording sheet is provided for them to keep track of their work. A Work it Out sheet is also provided for students to show their work. The students will work out the problem and check their answer. If they are correct, they gain points; and the team or person with the most points is the winner. There are 3 word problems for each category and each problem gets progressively harder. All are aligned to the standards and within 20.

## Build a Monster – First Grade Problem Solving

Need a fun activity packet to keep your students busy for a while? Check out this **Build a Monster First Grade Word Problems Activity Packet**! Each time your student completes a story problems sheet (4 problems), they will color a piece of the monster. Once all 12 pages are complete, they can cut out the monster and put it together! **Makes a great SUB PACKET!**

## Keep Practicing Addition & Subtraction

As you work through the problem solving unit, you’ll want to keep practicing basic addition and subtraction facts.

**Here are some great resources for learning centers from my friend Carol (The Chocolate Teacher) **

** **

**8. The Fun: Spin a Story Problem for a Fun Learning Center**

Your students can have fun while being creative as they spin a topic and use a ready made solution sentence to generate a story problem. This freebie comes with a generic spinner and the four seasons topics, plus 12 addition solution sentences and 12 subtraction sentences. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Grab a Solution Sentence, Spin the spinner and write the story problem. *For example;* let’s pretend that I grabbed 2 + 3 = 5 and I spun the jelly beans. Tim had 2 jelly beans. Saul gave Tim two more jelly beans. How many jelly beans does Tim have now? After creating the story problem, your student will either solve it on the recording sheet or allow a classmate to do so. Work continues until center time is up.

**Click the image below to grab this freebie.**

**Don’t forget to pin the image below to your Teaching Resources board for future use.**

**Click on the link below to sign up for notifications of new posts from the Breaking Down the Standards Series **

**AND Grab these Free First Grade Word Problems!**

**Thank you for stopping by!**

**-Carrie Lutz**

*Disclosure: Carrie Lutz is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a small commission on products purchased through Amazon.com and other affiliated websites. You do not pay more when purchasing products through these links.*

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