Saturday, February 9, 2013

Somebody Call A Doctor...I Need an Operation!

Math Surgeons as a Visual Aid for Key Words in Problem Solving

     I, like many of you, are focusing on a lot of Common Core problem solving for math.  Just getting students used to the wording of the problems is a very important step.  My students are getting pretty good with setting up bar models, but they are still learning about the language of word problems.  Recently, I was telling my second graders, "It's important to look for clues to determine which operation to use."  
     One of my adorables responded, "It's like we are math doctors!" (Kids come up with the GREATEST IDEAS!)
     That, of course opened up a whole discussion about how important it is for surgeons to know what kind of operation they need to do! You can imagine the many scenarios my students came up with, for example..."You wouldn't want to go in for foot surgery and end up with eye surgery."  Needless to say, of course they got carried away with this sort of conversation until I reeled them back into math world!
     I decided that math doctors would be a great visual for my students and promptly told them that the next day we would be creating our own "Math Surgeons" in class.  Sometimes I love going off the plan!!  Simple, fun and meaningful!
     The kids LOVED making the math surgeons.  They really had a chance to focus in on those important key words for problem solving.  You can get a good look at them in the pictures above.  I'd trust one of those surgeons with a math problem any day! :)


  1. This is so cute, practical, relate-able, and so CCSS. I will definitely be doing these with my kiddos. Thanks a bunch for the wonderful idea.

    1. Thank you so much! They really had fun with this one :)

  2. LOVE!!! Another teacher I work decided to use a medical theme for teaching Order of Operations with integers last year!! Our middle school students operated on patients (problems) wearing medical gowns, caps, masks and gloves. Our rooms transformed into operating rooms!!! We also wore medical gowns while teaching our lessons that led up to the surgery day!!


Notes For the Teacher