Change Unknown Problems Tutorial

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Maths Lesson Plan: Change Unknown Problems

General Information

- Subject: Maths
- Year Level: Year 4
- Duration: 20 minutes
- Number of Students: 2

Curriculum Links

This lesson plan is designed in accordance with the New Zealand Curriculum. It focuses on the Mathematics strand, specifically targeting:

- Strand: Number and Algebra
- Level: Level 2 (Years 3-4)
- Achievement Objective: Students will use simple additive strategies with whole numbers and fractions.

For more detailed information, visit the NZ Mathematics Curriculum.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Understand and solve change unknown problems in additive situations.
2. Apply addition or subtraction as appropriate to solve problems.
3. Communicate their mathematical thinking with clarity.

Resources Required

- Whiteboard and markers
- Problem cards (pre-prepared with different "change unknown" scenarios)
- Maths journals or paper for working out problems
- Pencils

Lesson Outline

Introduction (5 minutes)

- Topic Introduction:
- Begin by reviewing the concepts of addition and subtraction, using simple examples on the whiteboard.
- Introduce the concept of "change unknown" problems where the result or starting quantity is known, but the amount of change is not.

Activity Instructions (12 minutes)

- Activity Setup:
- Present the students with pre-prepared problem cards. Each card should contain a short story where a change unknown situation is described.
- Example Problem: "Sarah had some sweets. She bought 10 more sweets and now she has 15 sweets. How many sweets did she start with?"

- Working on Problems:
- Allow the students to pick a card and work through the problem individually for a few minutes.
- Encourage them to draw models or use number lines on their maths journal to visualize the problem.
- Walk around to monitor progress and provide support as needed.

- Peer Discussion:
- After initial thinking, have the students explain their solution to their peer.
- Encourage them to ask questions about their peer’s method and reasoning.

Conclusion (3 minutes)

- Review and Reflect:
- Briefly discuss the problems solved and the strategies used. Highlight effective strategies or interesting solutions.
- Ask the students to share one thing they found challenging and how they overcame it.


- Formative Assessment: Observe students’ problem-solving skills and their ability to communicate their mathematical thinking. Check their work for correctness and their journals for clarity of representation.
- Feedback: Provide immediate verbal feedback during the activity and a brief written comment in their journal at the end of the lesson focusing on their problem-solving approach and clarity in communication.


- After the lesson, reflect on the effectiveness of the problem-solving strategies introduced and the engagement level of the students. Plan adjustments for future lessons based on these reflections.

This plan provides a structured approach to tackling change unknown problems, using peer collaboration and reflective practices to deepen understanding and fluency in foundational maths skills.
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