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Unit 4: Modeling and Using Tools (MP4 and MP5)

# 4.2.1 Early Grades

In the early grades, students might choose to use manipulatives, such as linking cubes, to help them solve an addition or subtraction problem in context. They may also write an equation to describe a situation.

Children naturally attempt to model the action or relationships in problems. They first directly model the situations or relationships with physical objects. Children's solution strategies are first fairly exact models of problem actions or relationships. Counting and Direct Modeling strategies are simply specific instances of the fundamental principle of modeling. It is helpful to think of these strategies as attempts to model problems rather than as a collection of distinct strategies. The conception of problem solving as modeling not only serves as a basis for understanding children's strategies for solving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems, it also can provide a unifying framework for thinking about problem solving in the primary grades."

Carpenter, et al., 1999

Examples of Grades K–2 Modeling Activities

The problems below represent Level 1 Modeling tasks:
Problems 1–8

Examples of Grades 3–5 Modeling Activities

The problem below represents a Level 2 modeling task:
Problem 1: Delicious Energy Snack

The problem below represents a Level 3 modeling task:
Problem 2: Toy Truck