After our last journey, T4F, ended, I quickly started missing the special time my daughter and I had on Friday nights when we explored the weekly problem together.

Over our Thanksgiving break, I decided to try something new.

I drew a quick picture, and asked my child to invent a word problem that matches the picture.

It worked so well, that I am going to keep drawing pictures (with much more details!), and share them with you.

**A –** It gives a chance to children to explore word problems though a different angle. At first, my daughter wrote something that was quite close to what she does at school. But then, as she was trying something more complicated, reading her problem so I could solve it helped her see what information she may have forgotten, what she had to add to her text to complete her problem. At one point, the whole family gave a try to inventing a problem. Even my almost 4 year old son asked a math question related to the picture. Here are a few examples:

- There were 5 fish. 2 were pink and some were purple. How many fish were purple?
- There were 2 pink fish, 3 purple fish. There were also 2 brown fish behind the rock. How many fish were in the water all together?
- How many pairs of socks will the octopus need to buy when the water gets cold?
- How many fish do you see?

**B – T**he children can explore different formats of word problems (I don’t think I would have thought about an octopus in need of socks !).

**C – **The children can pick the operation they feel comfortable with, as well as the numbers (the rock can be used as a hidden place to work with higher number!). They can also try to come up with a word problem that involves a specific operation. Next time, I will draw much more details that could be used, but here are some examples from that picture.

- Addition: There were 2 pink fish and 3 purple fish. How many fish were in the water all together? (2 + 3 = 5)
- Subtraction: There were 14 fish next to the rock. 9 fish left. How many fish stayed next to the rock? (14 – 9 = 5)
- Multiplication: There were 3 purple fish. Each fish blew 2 bubbles. How many bubbles did the purple fish blow all together? (3 x 2 = 6)
- Division: Rosie has 17 fish. She wants to give as many fish as she can to her 6 friends, with each friend getting the same number of fish. How many fish can she give to each friend ? Will Rosie have some fish left? (2 fish / friend, Rosie has 5 fish left)

If your child is not sure how to start, you may want to invent a first problem and ask your child to invent another one. That should do the trick. I am going to post a new picture every week, so we can practice all together.

Beginning of 2016, I will start another journey, that will include exploring word problems on all operations, but I think these pictures could be fun as a transition.

Until next time !

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