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Math, Maps and Word Problems: A Second Grade Lesson

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 2/16/2016

Combine math, writing and art into a fun math project. Encourage math talk between partners as they work together.

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    1. Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. 2.MD.B.5

    2. Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one‐ and two‐step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. 2.OA.A.1.

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    • White construction paper
    • Drawing materials
    • Ruler
    • Pencils
    • Writing paper
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    • Step 1- Instruct students to draw a map of three or four buildings with a path or “street" in between. (See illustration). Students should not put numerical values on the roads. Encourage neatness and use of color. Use the ruler as needed for straight lines on buildings and roads. Label the buildings.
    • Step 2- When completed, the teacher will add the numerical values for the distance between the buildings. Use a variety of numbers so that everyone’s maps will be different making sure to stay within 100.
    • Step 3- Gather the students around you and draw three buildings and a quick map on the board. Ask students to suggest a word problem. Examples might be:
      • I walked to school and back home. How far did I walk?
      • How much farther is it to walk to the playground than it is to walk to school?
      • Tuesday I walked to the school and then the playground and then I walked home. Wednesday I just walked to school and back. How much did I walk all together?
    • Step 4- Write a suggested word problem on the board. Then write the equation to match it. Show examples of addition and subtraction and two-step word problems.
    • Step 5- Return maps to the students. Pair students together. The students will trade papers and write a word problem on the writing paper about their partner’s map.
    • Step 6- Trade papers again and write the equation that solves the problem. Encourage students to talk to each other about how they decided on the equation and the answer. Take time for each student to write two word problems about the partner’s map.


  • Schaffer, Frank. Singapore Math Practice 2A. Carson-Dellosa Publishing LLC, 2009.