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Realistic Problem Solving Activities: Grades 3-5

Want to have your son/daughter take a break from video games?  Try talking about everyday situations and turn them into learning experiences! Providing real life examples is the best way for students to problem solve and make connections with math.  Here are some ideas.

  • Make a batch of cookies– or double the recipe and calculate all new measurements of ingredients
  • Take your child to the grocery store when you need to pick up a few items.  Without using a calculator, both of you estimate the total cost as you put items into your shopping cart.  See who guesses the closest amount to the actual total.  
  • The next time you are getting take out at your favorite restaurant, let them see the total cost.  Ask them to determine the average cost per person, and how did they figure it out.  Or ask them to figure out the change if you gave the cashier $30.
  • When you are pumping gas, tell your son/daughter the total cost of the fill up, then the cost per gallon. (I would round the cost to help with mental math.) Can he/she figure out how many gallons of gas you bought?  What would happen if you only got half that amount of gas, what would you have paid? What about if you could fit a quarter tank more– what’s that cost and how many gallons?
  • Take one night a week and have a family game night.  Every board game requires some form of math– whether it’s through counting, calculations, strategies, or problem solving.  Math is everywhere!