problem solving with A Frog in the Bog

Posted on: February 17th, 2015 by jnovakowski

Last week I read A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson to three classes – the grades 1&2 class at Grauer and then the grades 1 and 1&2 classes at Blair. The focus of the math lesson for all three classes was the same – figuring out how many critters the frog swallowed and were having a bit of a party in his tummy. (fyi, one tick, two fleas, three flies oh my, four slugs and five snails)


In all three classes, there were a few students who were quickly able to mentally figure this out, or who had kept track while I was reading the story and they were eager to share their answers.

I then asked those students to find a way to “prove” their answer by using materials, picture, numbers or words. Other students engaged in solving the problem using the same criteria.

At Grauer in the grades 1 and 2 class…


this student described his cumulative adding strategy


this student combined numbers to make 5s and then counted by 5s to reach 15


this student used a ten frame to count out the animals and then recorded this in his math notebook


this student used cubes, a row for each type of animal, and noticed a pattern, and then he counted the cubes one by one to reach 15


this student explained that he looked for numbers to make 10 and then added on


this student used diagrams of the ten frames to combine the different groups of animals, and seeing the total as a ten and a five to make 15

At Blair…


this student used the ten frames to model the number of animals in the story using a different colour for each group of animal


then she snapped all the cubes together to show the increasing number pattern


this student counted out the cubes on the ten frame then stacked them in towers to show the numerical pattern


this student drew the frog’s tummy and all the critters in it and counted them up one by one


this student was exploring how to record what he did in his head which was combine 4 and 1 to make 5 and then 2 and 3 to make 5 – two fives are ten and then add five more to get 15


this student used tallies as he counted up the animals in his head


we used the large ten frames and magnets to help us visualize and describe our stategies


the students enjoyed drawing the critters in the tummy and then thinking of different ways to count them up

In all three classes we focused on the students’ communicating their mathematical thinking. For many of the students, they only tried one way to solve the problem so by sharing their different approaches at the end of the class, they were able to hear and see some different ways for solving problems.


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