Solving Math Problems with Pictures

This month, as part of the Ascend Curriculum, we are exploring pictorial math problems. These types of problems require a different set of skills than typical math computation problems, because your child must apply math operations to real-world contexts. Try these activities at home to help your child will learn how fun and useful math can be.

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-olds—Check out a math-related book, such Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews or Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert. As you look at family pictures, ask your child to count how many people are in the picture. Model for your child how to use your fingers to count. See if your child can point to the tallest person or the shortest person.
  • Three-year-olds—Create simple math problems for your child to solve using products in a catalog or sales paper. For example, you could ask, “If we bought these 5 bananas and those 2 pineapples, how many fruits would we have altogether?” Offer your child support in solving the problems.
  • Four-/Five-year-olds—Read an older math-related book such as The Grapes of Math or Math Appeal by Greg Tang. Then, ask your child more complex math problems using family pictures or a sales paper. You could say, “If there are 10 family members in this picture and only 4 in that one, how many are missing?” Write the number equation on a piece of paper or use tally marks. Then, repeat the completed equation after you have solved it together (10 – 4 = 6).

Skills Supported: pictorial math problems, counting, sizes, addition, subtraction, numerical equations, tally marks