Solving Addition Math Stories

Author: Great Minds, as featured on EngageNY

  • Description
  • Files

What we like about this lesson


  • Highlights multiple ways for students to work towards key grade-level fluency expectations for standards 1.OA.A.1, 1.OA.C.6
  • Covers two of the fifteen addition and subtraction problem types students should work with in first grade (see additional thoughts below)
  • Guides students to move between the concrete and the abstract (MP.2)

In the classroom:

  • Uses multiple concrete representations and visual models to make the mathematics explicit
  • Prompts students to share their developing thinking and understanding (Student Debrief and throughout lessons)
  • Provides opportunities and suggestions for differentiation
  • Gives formal and informal opportunities for teachers to check for understanding

  • Making the Shifts

    How does this lesson exemplify the instructional Shifts required by CCSSM?


    Belongs to the major work of first grade


    Builds on work started in kindergarten (K.CC, K.OA) and lays the groundwork for problem solving with addition and subtraction in second grade (2.OA.A.1)


    Conceptual Understanding: not addressed in this lessonProcedural Skill and Fluency: secondary in this lesson (1.OA.C.6)
    Application: primary in this lesson (1.OA.A.1)

  • Additional Thoughts

    It's important to note that this sample lesson is just one of a 39-lesson unit called Sums and Difference to 10. It is not intended for students to meet the full expectations of the grade-level standards addressed in these lessons through only this selected lesson. This sample lesson lays a strong foundation for the work that is to come in the unit. In the subsequent lessons, students explore other types of story problems and get more practice with representing and solving those problems using addition and subtraction. 

    As indicated in Table 1 on page 88 of the CCSSM, there are 15 distinct addition and subtraction situations with which students should be able to work. Page 9 of the progression document, K, Counting and Cardinality; K–5, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, gives guidances as to when students should encounter these types of problems and at which grades they should be expected to master working with them. 

    The structure of these lessons and the unit/curriculum overall have some interesting aspects to highlight. The units make explicit the coherence within the fully developed curriculum. Each topic (a set of lessons) is connected to prior learning and also points to the next lesson that follows in the learning progression. Within individual lessons, there are a number of components that add to their strength including daily fluency practice, variety in questioning techniques, and daily opportunities for students to debrief about their learning.

Supplemental Resources