3. How do I get started?

Choose your first problem

I’ve created several problems for you to choose from. Choose the best one that you think will allow you and your students to safely try out this new way of engaging with word problems together.

Plan ahead

  1. Read through the slides to get a feel for the progression of how numbers and information are slowly revealed.
  2. Read through the pre-planned questions in the Notes section of each slide. Consider printing these out to have on hand while you facilitate the problem.
  3. Think about how your students will be interacting with you and the problem. Will they be seated at their desks or on the carpet? Will they have assigned partners or small groups to talk to? Will they have something to write with/on during the problem or only at the end when the question is revealed?
  4. Consider how you will capture student thinking. Do you have a white board or chart paper where you can record information such as estimates?

If you can co-plan and co-teach the problem with a colleague, even better!

Facilitate the problem

Give yourself grace and focus on the process more than the outcome. Remember, changes to teaching take time and practice for both you and your students.


After facilitating the problem, ask yourself,

  1. What worked well? Why do you think that is, and what do you want to make sure you do again next time?
  2. What didn’t go as planned? Why might that have happened, and what changes might help that go better next time?
  3. What questions do you have? Can you ask someone in your building or school district? If not, reach out to the larger online teaching community. Share your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #NumberlessWP.

Now what?

The best next step is to plan your second problem. Choose from one of the many problems available on this site.

Check out the Resources page to hear from other educators who have used Numberless Word Problems.

As you continue your journey, share your questions, successes, and even frustrations with all of us on Twitter. Be sure to include the hashtag #NumberlessWP in any tweets where you share about Numberless Word Problems.