Dream Problem Solving

Scripture: Genesis 39-41

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review Pharaoh’s dreams and Joseph’s interpretations.
  • Students will read a math word problem, demonstrate it by acting/ using manipulatives, write it as an equation, and solve.

Guiding Question: How can we turn word problems into equations that we can solve?

Materials: Math word problems pre-written on index cards, Manipulatives for students to count with (dried beans, buttons, teddy grams or other small items)

Procedure: Review Pharaoh’s dreams and Joseph’s interpretations. Emphasize the seven skinny cows/grains eating the seven fat cows/grains. Ask students how they can figure out how many cows there were total. Encourage students to act it out. If there are not enough students, use toy cows or paper cows. First, show the fat cows and write the number 7 for students to see. Then introduce the skinny cows and write the number 7, but leave space in between the numbers for the +. Ask: Are we adding or subtracting? Write the appropriate symbol. Let students solve the equation. They may count the cows to help them. Then the seven skinny cows ate the 7 fat cows. Have students crumple/ discard the fat cows. How many cows were there to start? Write 14.

Tell students that there is another word problem in this story: There were 14 cows. How many were eaten? Subtract 7. Solve. Emphasize the drawings and manipulatives can help them with turning the words into something more visual/concrete.

Divide students into pairs. Give each pair several cards with word problems to solve, paper, pencil and manipulatives. You can create sets for easy/medium/hard depending on each group’s level. You can even incorporate division and subtraction for more advanced students. Try to incorporate real life problems that students might encounter. For example: Maya baked 10 muffins. She gave 3 to her friend. How many are left?

Tips for students: (Note: The teacher may want to have these posted for students to reference)
• List the numbers
• Is there any information or are there numbers that I don’t need? Mark them out.
• Is there an action that will make the answer bigger or smaller? This will help determine if it is +/- . Add if it is getting bigger. Subtract if it is getting smaller.

1. Draw/ Act it out
2. Write the Equation
3. Solve

Additional Questions:

  • What words help you know to add?
  • What words help you know to subtract?
  • When can you use word problems in your daily life?

Supplemental Activity: Encourage students to write their own word problems on index cards. They can trade these with a friend and solve each other’s math problems.

Written by: Savannah Negas

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