The Answer Is....PART TWO

My classroom is an ever evolving entity (a Triple E if you will....).  I try something new and it may work or it may not.  Sometimes, things that I try actually grow even more from their inception.  That is what is happening with "The Answer Is...".   A few months back I posted about how I was using "The Answer Is" in my classroom (you can read about it here).  I wanted to post an update to tell you how it has evolved and changed to become even more interactive.

Each week, the students complete a "The Answer Is..." card, creating a good (usually multistep) word problem that goes along with each answer.  At the end of the week, I have been putting the cards with the problems into a little white container.  For a while, we didn't do anything with them.  But now, those little cards in the little container are a part of my problem solving station in the math rotation block.

Now, each week, the students grab one of the cards out of the little container and they have to solve it.  But solving it wouldn't be all that difficult (because, let's face it, the problem authors are actually 5th graders, so the problems aren't always that challenging!)  So in addition to also solving the problem, the students must DISSECT the problem using the problem solving strategies we have been using in class.

At the beginning of the year, I started teaching my students how to build better math responses using Jen Runde's pack from her store.  It truly has made my students think more deeply about their math responses.

So I had my students take those strategies and apply them to the Answer Is.  During the problem solving session of their math rotation, the students go to the "White Box" Answer Is area (we call it that because I put the index cards in a white box.)  and pick up a slip at random.  Then, they start solving the problem in the workspace on the response sheet.  While solving it, the students are color-coding their response.

Doing this helps them to really see each step of what they are doing.  It helps them to distinguish between the various stages of solving a problem AND it forces them to actually write about what they are doing, instead of simply solving it.

This really has been the perfect way to up the rigor on an already rigorous activity...and keep the kids meaningfully engaged.

Want to try a free sample of the math response sheet I use from Runde's Room?  Click the preview in her store and one will come up to print out for you!


  1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this!! I've been doing (what we call) "Here's the Answer, What's the Question?" problems also, but never know what to do with the cards when we're done! This is a great idea; going to try it next week!!

    1. Thanks Kathie! I was always trying to figure out what to do with them too...but not anymore!


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