Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Real Problem of the Week

Christy Clanton
Bay District Schools


Problem of the Week engages students in an integrated, ongoing awareness of the current events affecting our daily lives as reported in our local newspaper while working mathematical word problems.


The student selects the appropriate operation to solve specific problems involving addition, subtraction, and multiplication of whole numbers, decimals, and fractions, and division of whole numbers.

The student adds, subtracts, and multiplies whole numbers, decimals, and fractions, including mixed numbers, and divides whole numbers to solve real-world problems, using appropriate methods of computing, such as mental mathematics, paper and pencil, and calculator.


-Multiple copies of local newspapers
-Encarta or other reference software loaded on computers
-Small post-it notes
-Graph of the Day bulletin board
-Problem of the Week bulletin board
-Overhead or whiteboard to post teacher-generated word problem
-Read/Think, Solve, Explain problem-solving chart
-Problem of the Week scoring rubric


1. Load Encarta or other reference software on computers, so that students have quick access when researching.
2. Lay out newspapers and post-it notes on team tables.
3. Write the -Graph of the Day- question on overhead or whiteboard: -What is the most interesting Problem of the Week?-
4. Create two bulletin board areas: Problem of the Week and Graph of the Day
5. Skim the newspaper to locate a -problem- of interest to use in creating a math word problem based upon a grade-appropriate mathematical skill.
6. Post Read/Think, Solve, Explain problem-solving chart.
7. Have multiple copies of Problem of the Week scoring rubrics available for student use.


1. Our class receives multiple copies of our local newspaper on Monday mornings. Each team has a copy to use at the team table. Students browse the newspaper as part of their -enter-the-room morning challenge.-

2. As part of our Brain Training session, students use small post-it notes to indicate their personal response to the question: -What is the most interesting Problem of the Week?-

3. The post-it notes are then categorized to create a graph displaying our -problem- selections. The results are posted as our -Graph of the Day.-

4. Students are then assigned to -Problem of the Week- research groups based upon their individual selections. Each group then utilizes reference software (Encarta) gather information about the -problem- that they chose (geographical location, definitions of unfamiliar words, etc.). They chart and display their information for the class to read on our Problem of the Week bulletin board. Then they write word problems for the class to solve.

5. As the teacher, I select a -news story problem- as well. My underlying purpose is to develop a teacher-generated -word problem- to give to the class to solve based upon data that can be found in the news story I chose. The word problem becomes our Problem of the Week Math Challenge during a Brain Training lesson.

6. Student teams calculate their answer predictions and write up their problems in the Read/Think, Solve, Explain format.

7. Team leaders report their team results to the class. Problem solving strategies are shared.

8. Teams use our Problem of the Week scoring rubric to self-evaluate their team's work.


Students use Problem of the Week scoring rubric to self-evaluate their team's work.

Attached Files

Problem of the Week Assessment     File Extension: pdf

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