How To Solve Word Problems And Have Fun

This time of year can be tough, y’all. We need students to dig real deep to grasp all of the concepts that we teach them, but everyone is just TIRED… #amiright???! Sometimes it would be easier to just throw in the towel, pull out the worksheets, and have students work quietly so you can get other things done. I get it. I’ve been there.

However, one thing that we can’t give up on right now (or ever) is word problems. Your students’ future teachers need you to come through in a big way when it comes to word problems. It’s not enough for students just to find the two numbers in the word problem and add them together (which is basically what every student EVER does, ha!). They need to be constantly seeing word problems. They need to be constantly solving word problems. They need lots of word problem activities. They need word problems, word problems, word problems!

And sometimes that seems overwhelming. BUT, I’ve got news for you! It doesn’t have to be stressful, time-consuming, or boring. It can be ENGAGING. It can be FUN. Let’s take a look inside the classroom of my sister-in-law, Olivia!

The Word Problem Activities Set-Up

I want to start out with the set-up. For this word problem activity, students are solving SIX word problems. Which I think is the perfect amount. Enough to make sure they really “get it” BUT not too many to where they become disengaged.

You’ll see below how we set up the six word problems. The word problems are in task folders. Students take one word problem at a time to solve. I’ll show you that in just a minute.

At the teacher table, we have all of the pieces to create a rainbow. Students solve a word problem, show it to the teacher, and if it was done correctly, they earn a piece to create a rainbow. Students continue doing that until all six word problems have been solved.

The Word Problems

Now let’s take a look at the actual word problems within the word problem activities. What’s great about these word problems is you can type in ANY word problem you want your students to complete. You don’t have to use the ones that we provide within the teaching resource. Here you can see the folder, word problem, and craft pieces.


Let’s take a look at the students solving the word problems. Students can work in groups to solve word problems, or they can use the smaller version and solve it on their own. That part is totally up to you and your kiddos! You wouldn’t even know this by looking at the picture below, BUT this student is solving a completely different word problem than some of the other students. You can easily differentiate by giving different students different word problems. The wonderful part, students won’t even realize it! They are ALL solving word problems. They are ALL making a rainbow!

Holding Students Accountable

Here’s how we hold students accountable. Once students have solved a word problem they bring their recording sheet to the teacher. The teacher quickly checks their work and answer. If the problem was done correctly, the teacher hands students that piece of the rainbow!

Creating the Rainbow

Now that the students have solved all of their word problems it’s time to create their rainbow! Students have earned all of their pieces, so they begin putting their rainbow together,

I mean…What a BRIGHT and CHEERFUL way to end an activity!

The Final Product

After the rainbow has been put together, students write the answers from their recording sheet on the arches.

See what I mean?! Word problem activities don’t have to be dull. They can be interactive, engaging, and fun. Students are still solving those problems, working hard, and being held accountable. We are just approaching the process in a new way! To see Solve to Create in action, follow Olivia on Instagram!

You can find more out about Solve to Create a Rainbow by clicking HERE!. You can see all of our Solve to Create Teaching Resources by clicking HERE!

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!

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