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This is a problem solving activity using the cows and chickens problem
Topic: problem solving
Grade Level: 1 – 2 (adjust level of difficulty)
Name of Activity: Cows and Chickens Problem
Materials Needed: paper, crayons (or other manipulatives i.e. blocks)
Description of activity:
Read to the class the cows and chickens story (problem). After the story is told, write the main information on the board: There are 4 cows. There are 3 chickens. How many feet and tails are there together?
Allow the students to work in pairs on the problem. Tell them to explain the problem to each other before writing anything down on the paper. Explain to them that they are allowed to put anything down on the paper that will help them solve the problem (numbers, pictures etc.). Blocks or another manipulative could be use also. Both students should agree on the answer to the problem
When everyone is finished with the problem, ask students what answers they got. Ask the pairs who have the correct answer to explain to the class how they got it. Drawing a picture on the board may help those who didn’t have the correct answer understand how the others came up with the correct answer.
Extensions: This activity can be extended by telling similar problems each day (involving bicycles and tricycles…how many tires are needed for 2 bicycles and three tricycles?). Another extension could be to have children sit around tables. Have them figure out how many feet are under the table.
Cows and Chickens Problem:I took a ride in the country last weekend and drove past many farms. At one farm, I noticed a farmer standing near the road, looking up at a hill the distance. He looked very worried. I stopped my car and got out.”‘Is something wrong?’ I asked the farmer.”‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘I have a problem that I need to solve. I have one field up on that hill there.’ He pointed at the hill. There are four cows and three chickens in the field. I know that because I put them there. Also, there is a fence around the field. What I’m wondering is how many feet and tails they have altogether. I’m trying to figure that out without climbing up the hill to the field to count.”‘I told the farmer that I knew a class of children who were learning about solving problems, and I thought the class could figure this out. I’m going to give you a chance to solve the farmer’s problem.