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Solving Multiplication and Division Word Problems

written by: Donna Ventura • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 2/28/2014

With this lesson plan, you can help your third grade class better understand how to use the basic concepts of multiplication and division to solve word problems.

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    Lesson Objective: The lesson is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics –

    3.OA.3 Operations and Algebraic Thinking: Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities.

    Materials Required: arrays, blocks, books, triangles

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    Lesson Procedure

    Encourage students to transform the word problems into drawings to help them visualize the solution. Discuss the appropriate operation that can be used to solve each problem with your students. To help students solve the problems, encourage them to draw simple pictures to represent groups or arrays. Have students write the equation that can be used to solve the problem. Also, ask them to write the answer to the problem and label their answer.

    Sample Discussion Problem 1

    There are 8 objects. There are 4 groups. Each group receives the same number of objects. How many objects does each group receive?

    • Have students draw 8 x’s on their paper.
    • Have students draw four circles around the x’s so there are the same number of x’s in each circle.
    • Tell students the x’s represent the objects and the circles around the x’s represent the groups.
    • Ask students, “How many x’s are in each circle?"
    • Explain that the operation that can be used to solve this problem is division.
    • Explain that the equation that can be used to solve this problem is 8 / 4 = 2.
    • Discuss why the solution to this problem is 2 objects.

    Sample Discussion Problem 2

    There are 6 rows. In each row, there are 5 objects. How many total objects are there?

    • Have students draw one row with 5 objects (x’s).
    • Have students continuing drawing objects in rows until they have drawn 6 rows with 5 objects in each row.
    • Ask students to count the number of objects they drew. Students should respond that they drew 30 objects.
    • Tell students they drew an array to represent 6 groups with 5 objects in each group.
    • Explain that the equation that can be used to solve this problem is 6 x 5 = 30.
    • Discuss why the solution to this problem is 30 objects.
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    Individual or Group Work

    For each of the problems below, have your students do the following:

    • Write the operation that can be used to solve each problem.
    • Write the equation that can be used to solve the problem.
    • Write the answer to each problem and label that answer.

    Arrays

    1. There are 7 rows. There are 8 objects in each row. How many total objects are there?

    2. There are 6 rows. There are 9 objects in each row. How many total objects are there?

    Blocks

    3. There are 8 blocks. The blocks will be equally shared among 4 friends. How many blocks does each friend receive?

    4. There are 35 blocks. The blocks will be equally shared among 7 friends. How many blocks does each friend receive?

    Books

    5. There are 40 books. The books will be equally placed on 4 shelves. How many books will be placed on each shelf?

    6. There are 77 books. The books will be equally placed on 7 shelves. How many books will be placed on each shelf?

    7. Mary has 55 books. She wants to display 5 books on each shelf. How many shelves will she need to display her books?

    8. There are 60 books. The books will be equally placed on 12 shelves. How many books will be placed on each shelf?

    Triangles

    9. There are 12 sides to be used to build triangles. Each triangle has 3 sides. How many triangles can be built?

    10. Sally wants to build 11 triangles. Each triangle has 3 sides. How many sides does Sally need to build 11 triangles?

    Answers

    1. 7 x 8 = 56 objects

    2. 6 x 9 = 54 objects

    3. 8 / 4 = 2 blocks

    4. 35 / 7 = 5 blocks

    5. 40 / 4 = 10 books

    6. 77 / 7 = 11 books

    7. 55 / 5 = 11 shelves

    8. 60 / 12 = 5 books

    9. 12 / 3 = 4 triangles

    10. 11 x 3 = 33 sides

    Goal: Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to solve multiplication and division word problems by choosing the operation, writing the equation, and finding the solution.

Introducing Multiplication and Division in 3rd Grade Math

The activities in these lesson plans are designed to help your students understand the basic facts of multiplication and division, and relate them to problems that involve finding the number of objects in a group.
  1. Teaching the Basic Facts of Multiplication
  2. Basic Facts of Division: 3rd Grade Math Lesson
  3. Solving Multiplication and Division Word Problems
  4. Solving for Unknown Quantities: 3rd Grade Math Lesson
  5. 3rd Grade Math Assessment on Multiplication and Division





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