ALEX Learning Activity


Making It Friendly Strategy Word Problems

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Jennifer Towles
School:University of Montevallo
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2574
Making It Friendly Strategy Word Problems
Digital Tool/Resource:
Making It Friendly Strategy Word Problems Slides Presentation
Web Address – URL:

This second-grade activity is designed for students to use the "Make it Friendly" strategy as an efficient computation strategy to solve a word problem. The "Make it Friendly" strategy is a place value strategy based on the underlying concept of compensation. Students are presented with a parallel task, which includes three-word problems that use numbers with varying magnitudes. The students are allowed to solve the problem of their choice.

This activity was created as a result of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 2
9 ) Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction. [2-NBT5]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.2.9- Identify the meaning of the + sign (add, plus, put together) and the - sign (subtract, take away, take from) and the = sign (equal, the same as); compose and decompose numbers up to 30 using objects, pictures, drawings, or numbers.

Learning Objectives:

The students will use an efficient strategy to add within 100.

The students will show and explain their strategy in writing.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

  1. The goal of this lesson is to use the “Make it Friendly” strategy. The focus is not on the magnitude of the numbers or the word problem itself. If the student uses the “Make it Friendly” strategy with the easiest problem, they have met the learning target of the lesson. The lowest level problem on the parallel task is within the first-grade magnitude of numbers. If the student struggles to solve the simplest problem using any strategy, further investigation is needed to determine their interference.
  2. The teacher will present Making It Friendly Strategy Word Problems Slides Presentation.
  3. The students will read the learning targets (Slide 2).
  4. The teacher will review vocabulary (efficient and strategy) that will be used throughout the activity (Slides 3 and 4).
  5. If the Explore lesson was completed the day before or was not completed at all, use Slides 5 and 6 as a review. If the Explore lesson was conducted on the same day, the review is unnecessary.
  6. The students will get a chance to apply “Making it Friendly" in a problem-solving situation. Do not tell the students to use the strategy. The students will complete the parallel task independently. This will serve as a formative assessment to determine whether students choose to or can use the strategy independently. 

  7. Present the problem in Slide 8 to the students. First, read the problem without numbers and ask the students to visualize what is happening in the problem. Second, read the problem chorally with the students. Third, discuss the questions on the slide, What is the problem about? What are we trying to figure out? Are we trying to figure out the parts or the whole? Did the problem end with more or less than it started with? (Slide 8).
  8. The picture on Slide 9 is hyperlinked to the actual document.  The parallel tasks are differentiated based on the magnitude of the number. The contexts are the same for all three problems. The student will choose which problem he or she wants to solve. If they finish and have additional time, the teacher should encourage them to try the same strategy with another problem. The teacher may choose to print the document and distribute it or project the document and ask the students to solve it in their journal.

  9. The teacher will choose three different examples of student work. If possible, choose a student who solved problem #1, a student who solved problem #2, and a student who solved problem #3. The goal would be that all three students used “Make it Friendly” as their strategy to solve the problem. If not, choose 3 students who used a low-level strategy (counting on by ones), moderate level (counting all with a base-ten model or counting on with a number line), target level - making the numbers friendly (Slide 10).

  10. Slides 11 and 12 summarize by encouraging the students to make numbers friendly to add.
Assessment Strategies:

The teacher should use a student work sort organizer to sort the work into 4 categories. 

Category 1: Accurately used the “Make it Friendly” strategy on at least one problem.

Category 2: Accurately solved at least one problem but did not use the “Make it Friendly" strategy.

Category 3: Attempted to use the "Make it Friendly" strategy but was not accurate. 

Category 4: Did not use an effective strategy to solve at least one of the problems.

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need to print the following items:

Parallel Tasks

Student Work Sort

The teacher should have linking cubes available for the students who need them.

Students will need their math journals.

Variation Tips (optional):

Based on the instructional needs of the class, the numbers can be shifted upwards or downwards if needed.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):

2019 ALCOS

10) Fluently add and subtract within 100, using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: Compensation, Fluently adding within 100, Making it Friendly, Parallel Tasks, Place Value Strategies