Fun with Numbers
students draw comics and write their own word problems to delve into number theory.
By: Diane Grove  |  11/14/2014


In the first quarter of sixth grade math, students drew comics and created their own word problems to demonstrate their mastery of course content. At IACS, teachers find that this kind of project work really motivates student learning. With these skills under their belt, they were able to explain the humor of a “Shoe” comic in terms of number theory.

Students then used one of the number theory concepts they’d studied to create and solve a word problem of their own. Finally, students drew their own comic and a set of questions based on their chosen topic.

Through the project, students not only got to highlight their knowledge of number theory. They also had a chance to construct problems related to their own lives, and even to tell a joke. When they got stuck, they bounced ideas of peers. When they thought they were done, they got real-time feedback from their classmates which they use
d to make sure their problems and comic strips were comprehensible to their fellow sixth-graders.

The comic strip problem is just one example of how we use project work to delve deeper into the language of mathematics, build real-life problem-solving skills, and keep our students not just learning, but having fun in math class.

Student Word Problems

Read some of our students word problems below and see if you can solve them.

There are 64 red apples and 56 granny smith apples. I want to divide the apples in bags so that each bag has the same of each kind of apple. What is the greatest number of bags I should use?

by Erin L.

Loon had 16 Shoe comics and 32 Beetle Bailey comics in his room. He wants to have the largest equal amount of each comic in every container. (Same amount of each comic.) How many containers does he need?

by Nathan S.

Sam is running a bake sale. He sells pies. He sells blueberry and apple pie. Every 9th customer gets half off. Every 21st customer gets buy one get one free. Which (is the first) customer who will get both?

by Sam P.