There are 3 shapes in a bag. The total number of sides is 13. What could the shapes be?
What I like about this problem is that it allows the children to demonstrate their knowledge of 2 dimensional shapes and there are many possible outcomes.
The kids organize their thinking in many different ways. It is another thing I love about problem solving. We almost always include a debrief or sharing time at then end of a problem solving lesson. We ask kids to share their strategies. Sometimes we let anyone share. Other times, we target specific kids to share a strategy that we think could support other students. Throughout the year, students develop quite a repertoire of strategies that they are comfortable using.
Some used equations with the shape name written underneath.
Other children created equations, but instead of numbers drew the shapes.
Others chose to "act it out" with pattern blocks and then trace the blocks onto the page.
Some kids asked me the name of ten sided and thirteen sides shape so they could use them in their equations. Thanks to google we had some fun trying to pronounce some of their names.
This student, used equations and then the initial letter of each shape underneath to show which shape he was referring to.