Writing Multi-Digit Word Problems

Subject: Math

Lesson Length: 30 - 40 mins

Topic: Numbers & Operations in Base Ten; Addition and Subtraction of Multi-Digit Numbers

Grade Level: 4

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: In this lesson, students will create word problems requiring addition or subtraction of multi-digit numbers. Students will solve word problems written by a classmate.

Know Before You Start: This lesson would be perfect for a mid-unit formative assessment, as a way for students to practice their skills.


  • Read and discuss the sample comic. What happens in the first panel?  The second panel? The third? 

  • Review the components/structure of a word problem with the class e.g., scenario, problem, question.

    Review keywords or phrases to look for:

  • How many in all?

  • How many more than?

  • How many less than?

  • How many are left?

  • Solve the problem in the sample comic as a class.

Activity: Using the sample comic as a guide, have students create a three-to-four-panel comic featuring an addition or subtraction word problem involving multi-digit numbers.

Each comic should include:

  • Panel 1: the scenario.

  • Panel 2: the problem.

  • Panel 3: the question.


  • Have students share their completed comics with a partner.

  • Students will solve the word problem in the comic written by that partner. 

  • When they’re finished, have students check their partner’s work for accuracy. Essentially, students will be solving both their partner’s problem and then their own.


  • Provide visual representation of the components of a word problem.

  • Display three-to-four-panel comic expectations for independent work.

  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature as needed.

  • Allow students to use a Story Starter.


  • Comic to print or display:  Comic.

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