The Answer Is 72

Practices
Contextualizing and decontextualizing
Representing and connecting
Topics
Addition
Division
Multiplication
Subtraction
Grade level
1
2
3
4
Use an App
Number Frames app
Number Frames
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Number Pieces
Number Pieces
17SN-0Q0K
Number Line
Number Line
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What math questions can you ask about a garden?

garden beds with flowers and plants

Kyle wrote a story problem about a garden. The answer is 72. What could his story problem be?

How could you get started?

There are many different kinds of story problems about gardens that you can write. Be creative!

  • Think about what might grow in a garden. How can you pick some of them or plant more to get to 72?
  • Your problem might be about plants that are in rows and columns.
  • Your problem might be about the area or perimeter of a garden.

If you’re not sure where to start, think about two numbers you might add or subtract to get to 72. If you want, you can even multiply or divide to get to 72. Then use the numbers you used to write a math question. Remember, the answer to your question should be 72.

Ready to explore more?
  • Write another story problem with the answer of 72. Can you use a different operation for your second problem? Can you use more than one operation?
  • Show your story problem, without the answer, to a friend or family member and ask them to solve it. Did they solve your problem in the way that you would have, or did they use a different strategy?
For Teachers: More about this activity

This open-ended activity gives students a numeric solution and asks them to write their own story problem. Solving this problem requires students to contextualize and decontextualize a problem situation and determine an expression with a value of 72. Posing their own problems in this way encourages them to see mathematics in their own lives.

Students may use the apps in a variety of ways when presenting their story problem. For example, some might use an app to understand the number relationships within their story problem, some might use an app to create a model intended to be shown as part of their story problem, and others might use an app to show a sample solution for their problem.

There are multiple situations and math skills that students might use when writing their story problem, and students’ problems might require any operation(s) to solve. Depending on the grade level of your students, you may see story problems such as these:

  • G1–G2: Addition and subtraction story problems involving plants found in a garden (as shown here using the Number Line app, here using the Number Frames app, and here using the Number Pieces app). As needed, provide younger students with additional support when they write the sentences of their story problems.
  • G2–G4: Multiplication or repeated addition problems involving plants arranged in rows and columns (as shown here using the Number Pieces app and here using the Number Frames app).
  • G3–G4: Problems involving the area of a garden in the shape of a rectangle or a composite rectilinear shape (as shown here using the Number Pieces app and here using the Number Frames app.
  • G3–G4: Problems involving the perimeter of a garden in the shape of a rectangle or a composite rectilinear shape (as shown here and here using the Number Pieces app).

As students create their story problems, encourage them to include visual models as part of their work. Extend their thinking by asking questions such as: I see you used the number 18 and 4 in your story problem. Why did you choose those numbers? Where do you see the 18 in your picture? Where do you see the 4? How do you think someone would solve your problem? Can you think of a way to make your story problem more challenging for someone else to solve?