Story Problem Challenge

[Rescued from my old blog.]

Well, my computer is still being rebellious, so I’m at dh’s office again to check e-mail while the kids are gone to karate. But I thought it was high time I got another entry up on the blog…

One of my favorite activities for Math Club is to have my students write their own story problems. Then we pass the problems around so everyone can try to solve them. With all the discussion of problem solving on the math forum lately, I thought it would be fun to extend the challenge to you all. Can you come up with a word problem for us to practice our problem-solving skills on?

Better yet, ask your children what they can come up with. They can use problems from their math books or online to get their thinking started, but they should mix things around enough to make the problem their own. For more inspiration, you can buy Math by Kids from PA Homeschoolers. It’s a great (and inexpensive!) little book full of original math problems by homeschooled kids aged 4 to 17.

Incidentally, you are not required to know the answer to your own problem. My students always enjoy the freedom of creating stories without being limited to what they know how to solve. When a problem is especially tricky, that means we all get to work together on the answer.

Post your entry below, for everyone to enjoy. Here’s my story, to get things started:

The day before the great battle at the Black Gate, a company of 450 orcs camped among the host of Mordor. But an argument broke out over dinner, and 1/3 of them were killed. Then 2/5 of the remainder died when a drunken troll stumbled through their camp during the night. How many of the orcs survived to join the morning’s battle?


For a variety of story problems written by homeschooled children (and their parents), check this follow-up post:

5 thoughts on “Story Problem Challenge

  1. Mouse is 8 and has three siblings, ages 0, 2 and 4. How old will they be when she is 16?

    (For some reason, my 8 year old is obsessed with knowing how old everyone will be when someone else is a certain age…she does more math along this theme than by anything I come up with!

  2. My 8yo is the same way. She is the youngest, and she is very interested in exactly how much older her siblings are and how long it will be until she catches up!

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