As a third grade teacher, we are constantly struggling with teaching students ways they can interpret, understand and create word problems. Quite often, my students act out math scenarios, but this takes it to another level...
This is called the "Stop Freeze Method" or the "Word Problem Playlet."
* Students, in small groups, write a short play focusing on a word problem.
- * They need to determine the setting and the characters as they create an original word problem.
* As the rest of the class is watching, and after they have been presented with enough information, they ask a question of the audience and then say, "Freeze!" (I am going to have the "performers" freeze during this think/work time, even though the version I have doesn't include this tip.)
* Members of the class use the given information presented in the playlet to solve the problem.
* This helps the students visualize the steps they need to perform in order to solve problems, because they have seen it acted out.
(If it is a two-step problem---for example, if they need to find a total and then subtract it to find the amount of change,----the play can stop at two points.)
Here is an example written by Jacob and Natalie:
Haley: Let's go to the candy store, Jason!
Jason: But what if we get a stomachache?
Haley: I'm not going to get a stomachache. I'm practically sweet all over. (My students would not be able to deliver or hear this line and keep a straight face. Some of them might even barf...)
Jason: Well then, okay. Let's go to the Yum Yum Tree at the mall.
Narrator: Haley and Jason ride their bikes over to the Yum Yum Tree near their home. They park their bikes in the rack and run into the store.
Haley: I really want to buy a peanut butter fudge popsicle. I think it costs 55 cents.
Jason: I think I want one of those giant rainbow lollipops for 75 cents. Mom gave me $5.00. She said I could treat.
Cashier: (Smiling as she rings up their candy) Boy, you guys must really be hungry! Altogether that will be...FREEZE! (The audience works to figure out the total.)
Jason: (Handing the cashier a five dollar bill) I have enough! Mom says we can buy a book with the change.
Cashier: And your change is...FREEZE! (The audience works out the change the kids will receive.)
Haley and Jason: (Looking at the change excitedly) Wow! Let's ride over to the book sale at the library...