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Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S.

Procedure

4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure


Group Roles
Our group is made up of four students in ECI 519: Jeff Brown, Jennifer Fernbach, Olivia Jordan, and
Yaxin Zheng. For our final project we expanded upon our idea for a lesson and technology involving the
C.U.B.E.S. strategy for solving word problems in a fourth grade class setting.
Jeff had prior experience teaching C.U.B.E.S. in his classroom and came up with the original idea for the
procedure. He wrote the description for the considerations of ID1 and applications of ID2 concepts as
well as the description of the need for technology. He also developed all of the prototypes that are
included in our document. Moreover, he elaborated how Mayers Multimedia principles are applied in the
lesson and prototypes design.
We decided collectively that the technology would be an app and most of the features that would be
included. Jeff and Jennifer worked together to write the description of the technology.
Jennifer wrote one of the objectives, helped revise all of the objectives once they were written, and wrote
the explanations for the first three examples which included the diagrams and the teacher script. She
also added the Feedback & Correctives, Independent Practice, Evaluation, and Enhancing Retention &
Transfer sections of Gagnes Nine Events of Instruction as well as the description of the classroom.
Jennifer and Olivia worked on editing the introduction.
Olivia wrote 3 of the objectives and the word problems for the first three examples, helped write some of
the teacher steps for examples 2 and 3, wrote the descriptions for how readiness could be assessed and
developed, helped format the document, wrote the explanations for how Merrills Component Display
Theory and communication theory are utilized in the lesson design, and revised the reference list.
Yaxin wrote the description for the C.U.B.E.S. procedure, wrote one of the lesson objectives, wrote the
word problem and explanation for example 4, helped work on the overall layout of the document, helped
with revisions, wrote the explanation of the implications, and came up with the idea for students to be
able to share their solutions on a Popplet. She also explained how cognitive theory and cognitive load
theory have been applied in this lesson design.

Introduction
This lesson was designed for a 4th grade blended classroom. Each student has access to a device that
utilizes apps and can connect to the internet. The class is expected to have learned how to add, subtract,
multiply, and divide prior to this lesson. The students are accustomed to both direct instruction and
technology centered instruction/practice. Our method of instruction motivates children in an atmosphere
of creativity and enthusiasm, provides opportunities for student-directed learning environment.
Defining C.U.B.E.S.
C.U.B.E.S. is a procedure because it involves a series of steps. It does not involve classifying nor does it
have criterial or variable attributes which are present in a concept (Purichia, 2014). By using this strategy,
students will learn to identify the important information within word problems. This will help them

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

develop their problem solving abilities for solving future word problems involving addition, subtraction,
multiplication, or division.
Prerequisite Knowledge
Prior to this lesson involving the C.U.B.E.S. strategy for solving mathematical word problems, students
would have been taught to solve basic math equations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and
division without the use of a calculator. This lesson would be an introduction as to how to solve these
types of problems when they are given in the format of a word problem. The goal of this lesson is to
achieve low-road transfer. After this lesson, students will take the C.U.B.E.S. strategy and apply it to any
word problem involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Students will be utilizing the
problem solving skills they learn today in future lessons involving word problems.

Theory Foundation
Cognitive Theory
Cognitive theory is integrated with the lesson design. C.U.B.E.S. strategy is presented here to cultivate
students metacognitive skills and problem-solving skills (Bonner, 1988). The teacher monitors students
learning performance to make sure each step of C.U.B.E.S. is covered to solve a math word problem.
Students will experience cognitive development throughout the learning process. The students will be
presented with both the strategy and process including step-by-step solutions to word problems and the
ability to apply the strategy independently. Cognitive theory will help students build schemata which
represents knowledge in ones memory. In the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will help students
recall previous knowledge in their schemata. Then, the teacher will demonstrate new content with
declarative and procedural components of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy to fill the gaps in students previous
schemata and help students to evaluate and modify their schemata to acquire the new knowledge.
Cognitive Load Theory
This lesson integrated with cognitive load theory takes the advantages of human cognitive architecture in
consideration. It is based on concepts of working-memory, long-term memory and schema theory.
(Sweller, 2011) Working memory will randomly combine new information, which will cause extra
working loads. When processing knowledge, our brain can have intrinsic and extraneous cognitive loads.
Our C.U.B.E.S. lesson design applied with several cognitive load effects helps to minimize extraneous
cognitive loads placed on students working memory, and helps students eventually store the knowledge
into long-term memory. Our goal is to guide the students from novice to expertise in solving math word
problem using the C.U.B.E.S. strategy. The students have adequate prior knowledge, and the teacher tries
to recall their long-term memory and make it connect to new context and materials. Applied effects will
be presented in blue under each procedure.
Behaviorism
This lesson design also includes several aspects of behaviorism, but it is not the primary theory. The
teacher demonstrates the new content and delivers the curriculum to students. Mastery learning is
introduced here which involves direct teacher instruction, cooperation with classmates, and independent
learning. Students will master a skill before continue on the next skill (Rock & Brumbaugh, 2013). After
the instruction of new knowledge, the teacher will assess students learning outcomes. There are several
problems in using behaviorism here. Behavior theory may be sufficient to cultivate students low-level

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

skills, but it is hard for students to relate the skills into new situation and solve higher level mathematics
problems. Therefore, cognitive theory is dominated here to foster students metacognitive skills and
problem-solving skills.
Merrills Component Display Theory
References to Merrills Component Display Theory are highlighted in red throughout the lesson design.
This is to bring attention to them and make them easy to locate. Merrills Component Display Theory
focuses on dimensions and presentation forms. The two dimensions are content and performance
(Purichia, 2014). Our projects content is a procedure that helps students break down the components of a
word problem so they can solve it using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Component
Display Theory focuses on learner control (Culatta, 2013). Utilizing the app weve created, students are
able to select the level (from 1 to 3) that best suits their current understanding. There are also several
optional help features that scaffold instruction for students if necessary. As mentioned by Culatta, if all
components of primary and secondary presentation forms are utilized, then instruction is most effective.
Primary presentation forms include rules, examples, recall, and practice while secondary presentation
forms include prerequisites, objectives, helps, mnemonics, and feedback (Culatta, 2013). Within our
project, we have accounted for all primary and secondary levels of presentation as noted in the following
sections. Therefore, we have maximized the effectiveness of our lesson design according to Merrills
Component Display Theory.
Communication Theory
While considering Communication Theory in regards to our lesson, there are multiple perspectives that
must be taken into account: mechanistic, psychological, social constructivist, systemic, and critical
(Spector, 2012). While creating our app to support the lesson on C.U.B.E.S., we heavily considered a
mechanistic perspective and how students would interact with the app when solving word problems, how
teachers would receive student work, and how feedback would be provided to students. We also utilized
this perspective by adding the Popplet feature (described later) so that students can interact with each
other and share their ideas. A systemic perspective was considered while creating scaffolding
opportunities within the app. Students are able to work at their own pace and if they master content at
one level can proceed to the next. They do not have to wait on further instruction from the teacher but
can move at their own pace.

Gain Attention
Teacher plays video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TXxwNCRgKU
These words we have been working with will come in handy later on in todays lesson. Keep the rap in
mind as you do your work today.
Recall Prerequisites
We have been working on solving expressions involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and
division as a part of the unit on problem solving. Lets review a little. How do we solve the following
expressions?

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

6+4
5x2
14 - 7
50 5
11 x 3 - 2
(The equations will be posted on an interactive white board and will be sent to the student response
system for the teacher to see each individuals responses to the following review questions.)
Which operation is used in each? Do any of the expressions involve multiple operations?
(From this quick review, the teacher can quickly assess if students need any extra practice with the
mathematical operations previously studied. If students answered any of these incorrectly, the teacher
will review the operations they have not yet mastered. If students answered these with ease, the teacher
will continue on to introduce the new procedure.)
Math problems do not always have to be written using standard algorithms. Occasionally, they may
come across word problems. Within a word problem, there is a task that you are asked to complete. This
task is not always obvious. Today we will learn a procedure to help us attend to precision while solving
word problems.
(Prerequisite knowledge is one of the secondary presentation forms in Merrills Component Display
Theory (Culatta, 2013). We have utilized this presentation form in our project to activate students prior
knowledge of solving equations using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. This is to make
sure that they utilize and transfer this knowledge of mathematical operations in solving word problems.)
Relate Objective to Larger Area of Study
Todays lesson on solving word problems will extend your knowledge of problem solving. This lesson
will help you develop the skills necessary to solve future word problems involving the same four
operations weve learned previously: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The word
problems in todays lesson include one or two operations necessary in solving the given question. The
skills you learn using the C.U.B.E.S. strategy will help you solve more complex word problems that may
involve two or more operations and multiple steps.
Inform of Objectives
(The teacher will begin to explain the objectives to students after they have activated prior knowledge and
explained how this lesson relates to a larger area of study. Objectives are another secondary presentation
form (Culatta, 2013). We have utilized this presentation form to make sure that students understand the
reason for the lesson and how they will utilize the new skills they learn.)
The objectives for this lesson are:
1) Given a mathematical word problem, and without the use of a calculator, which requires the use of
addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, the students in a fourth grade general math class, will
apply the C.U.B.E.S. strategy and solve correctly.

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

2) The student in a fourth grade general math class will correctly circle all numbers in a given word
problem, requiring the use of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, that are critical in
solving the problem.
3) The student in a fourth grade general math class will correctly underline the question asked in a given
word problem requiring the use of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.
4) The student in a fourth grade general math class will correctly draw a box around all action words in a
given word problem, which requires the use of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.
5) The student in a fourth grade general math class will identify the appropriate mathematical operation or
operations, out of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, needed to solve the given word
problem accurately.
You will be learn how to, within a given word problem, draw a circle around key numbers, draw a box
around math action words, identify the type of operation(s) that need to be used to solve the problem, and
solve a word problem by applying the steps of C.U.B.E.S. There are five steps in this procedure that you
will learn.
(The teacher will wait to go over the specific steps of the math strategy until the presentation of new
content in the next section.)
Inform of Evaluation
You will be evaluated at the end of the lesson by solving 5 mathematical word problems utilizing the
C.U.B.E.S. strategy. You must correctly solve at least 4 of the 5 word problems given while showing all
of the steps of C.U.B.E.S. in you work, for the performance to demonstrate competence with the
procedure. You will also be asked to create you own word problems with a group of students. This word
problem will include at least one of the four operations discussed out of addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division. This word problem creation will be a second form of evaluation. It is
important to pay attention to the math action words in each example given because you will need to pick a
math action word to represent the operation you choose for your original word problem.

Presentation of New Content


Procedure
C.U.B.E.S. strategy for math word problem solving.
The acronym C.U.B.E.S. stands for:
-Circle key numbers
-Underline the questions
-Box math action words
-Evaluate: What steps do I take?
-Solve and Check
(Teacher posts the following word problem on the board for the students to see as it is read aloud)
Victoria walked 5 blocks from her house to the bus stop. She rode the bus 7 blocks to the library. Later,
she came home the same way. How many blocks did Victoria travel in all?

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

Today we are learning a procedure to help us solve word problems such as the one on the board. We will
watch a short video that demonstrates how to use the C.U.B.E.S. strategy and then practice using it
together.
(The teacher will show this video to the class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4993xqdmQA )
We will be practicing the C.U.B.E.S. strategy together. To help with this procedure, you will use a
checklist to be sure you do not skip a step.
(Worked example effect: "Worked example is demonstrated when students learn more by studying a
problem and its solution rather than solving the problem
themselves" (Sweller, 2011). This video gives a well explained
word problem with the steps of C.U.B.E.S strategy to solve this
problem. This gives students a good example of how to apply this
strategy and prepare students for the guided practices.)
(Hand out laminated checklists similar to this. Hand out dry
erase markers. Checklists will be reused.)

On your laminated checklist are the five steps in the C.U.B.E.S.


procedure. The first step is to look for key numbers within the
word problem. These may be written in number or word form.
You will draw a circle around these key numbers. For the second
step, you will read the the word problem and look for the
question it is asking. You will underline this question. The third step is to draw a box around any math
action words you see.

(On the classroom walls, there are posters displayed to remind students what the math action words are.
Examples of such posters follow:)

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

(One of the secondary presentation forms in Merrills Component Display Theory is helps. The laminated
checklists and math action word posters are two types of helps that this lesson uses. If students cant
remember which step of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy to complete next or they forget what one of the letters
stands for they can utilize their checklist. The posters will help students find key words in their math
problem. They will also help students determine which operation should be performed to solve the word
problem.)
If you are unsure of what words in the problem are math action words, the posters around the room
might help. Look for words on the wall and see if any of these words are repeated in your word problem.
In a word problem, there may be one math action word or there may be more than one word. You will
need to read the problem carefully to decide. You should draw a box around any math action word that
you find. The fourth step is to evaluate. This means you will need to determine which operation is
needed to solve the problem. You will be using either addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to
solve these word problems. You will need to use the action words you have drawn a box around to help

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

you decide which operation is necessary. The last step is to solve and check. This means you will
perform the operation with the key numbers to find your final answer. Once you have an answer, you will
work backwards to see if your answer makes sense.
(One primary presentation form is rules which we have included at the beginning of the presentation of
new content (Culatta, 2013). The teacher script explains what each letter of C.U.B.E.S. represents and
what action should be taken for each step when solving a word problem. Our procedure also uses a
mnemonic, one of the secondary presentation forms (Culatta, 2013). The mnemonic of C.U.B.E.S. helps
students remember the order in which to identify key information and the steps necessary to solve a word
problem.)
(The isolated element effect: Due to instructional procedures decreasing intrinsic cognitive load and the
fact that students in this level do not acquire the expertise of solving word problems appropriately, the
isolated elements effect is used here as separate steps in applying C.U.B.E.S strategy (Sweller, 2011).
Each step is presented in isolation but in a sequence. Students need to accomplish one step to access the
next step. When they have learned the five steps, the materials are presented again with practice in full
interaction rather than isolated form so that students can make connections.)
(The following problem will be displayed for all students to see, and students will receive a copy of the
problem.)
Guided Practice Examples
1) Sally is traveling to Wilmington, NC for her summer vacation from Raleigh, NC. The total distance is
131 miles. She travels 64 miles the first day and stops to visit a friend. How many miles does she have
left to travel on the second day?
Glue the word problem into your math journals. Take out a pink, a blue, and a green crayon. You will
need these for the remainder of the lesson.
The first step of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy is circle key numbers. 131 and 64 are the numbers that we need
to circle in this word problem. Use your pink crayon to circle the numbers on your recording sheet.
(teacher circles the numbers on the board):

Please place a check mark next to the C on your checklist to show that the first step has been
completed.
The next step is to underline the question (remind the students to reference their checklists)

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

How many miles does Sally have left to travel on the second day? (Students are directed to underline
the question on their individual copy of the word problem with a blue crayon, and it also needs to be
underlined on the classroom display:)

Place a check mark next to the U on your checklist. (illustrating the second step has been completed)
Look at your checklist. The third step of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy is to draw a box around any math
action words. Have left is an important phrase in this word problem because it helps describe what
operation needs to be performed. Go ahead and draw a green box around the words have left.
(The teacher will draw a box around the words have left on the classroom display. If students have
trouble deciding what operation needs to be performed, the teacher will ask students to check the posters
of operation action words on the walls.)

Place a checkmark next to the B on your checklist to show the third step has been completed.
Look at the fourth step on your checklist. The fourth step of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy is to evaluate. This
means that we will decide which operation, addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, needs to be
used to solve the problem. The words have left tells the reader what math operation needs to be done in
order to solve the problem.
(Directed to the class) Which mathematical operation is to be used? A: subtraction.
(If needed, the teacher will remind students to reference the math action word posters located in the
classroom. The evidence of their evaluation step will be present when they show the work they do to
solve the problem.)
(If students answer incorrectly, the teacher will explain that the phrase have left, in this problem,
indicates that there are FEWER miles to travel than the 131 total miles at the start of the trip. Since you
are looking for an answer that is LESS than 131, a mathematical operation that TAKES AWAY the 64
miles she has already traveled is necessary.)

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

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Once you have decided which math operation needs to be done, you have completed the E step in their
procedure. Place a checkmark next to the E on your checklist.
Look at your checklist. The final step is to solve and check.
(Directed at class) What do you think is the equation that needs to be solved in this word problem?
(If a student answers correctly) How did you decide on the order of your numbers?
(If the student successfully identifies that the equation is 131-64 and states that this is because 131 is the
whole and you are taking away one part, 64, to find the difference, you may continue on to solve.)
(If the student incorrectly states the math problem, the teacher can use their explanation for the equation
to clear up any misconceptions [ex: if the student states the equation is 65-131, the teacher can remind the
class that the whole is always the largest number in part-part-whole fact families since this information
has been studied prior to the current unit].)
It is now time to solve the problem.
(The teacher will write the equation on the board)
Please copy down the equation into your notebook. Can you take 4 away from 1?
(The class will state that it is impossible, so regrouping is necessary. The class will direct the teacher to
decompose a ten and add it to the ones column [turning the 3 into a 2 and the 1 into an 11].)
Next, we will subtract 11-4 and place a 7 under the ones column. Now we move on to the tens place. Is
it possible to take away 6 when you only have 2?
(The class will reply that it is not possible, so regrouping must occur. The class will direct the teacher to
decompose a hundred and add it to the tens column [turning to 1 into a 0 and the 2 into a 12].)
Now, we can subtract 12-6 to find a difference of 6.
(Students will write a 6 under the tens column.)
This leaves us with a difference of 64 miles.
(If the class is unable to do the regrouping successfully, the teacher needs to go back to review that
concept.)
Show your subtraction work in your notebook just as it is on the board. We will now check our work.
Once we have done subtraction, we can take the two smaller parts and add them together to get the whole.
When 64 and 67 are added together, the answer should be 131 if the math was done correctly.

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

11

(The teacher will write the addition equation on the board.)


Copy the addition equation into your math journal.
As a class, they will orally add the ones column, followed by the tens column, regrouping if necessary.
Four plus seven equals 11 so we will place a 1 in the ones column and write a 1 above the six in the tens
column. The sum of the tens column is 13 so we will write that down. We found a sum of 132 which
indicates that we have correctly solved the word problem and that Sally has to travel 67 more miles on her
journey.
(The last step: to solve and check should be similar to this:)

2) Ryan goes to Krispy Kreme and buys two dozen donuts for his birthday party. His mom also goes to
Krispy Kreme and buys 7 donuts. How many total donuts does he have for his party?
This story problem contains all of the elements used in the C.U.B.E.S. procedure. What is the first
step? (circle key numbers)
Which numbers are important in solving the problem? (two dozen and 7)
Circle two dozen and 7 with a pink crayon to show you have identified the numbers that will be used
in your calculations:

Place a check next to the C on their checklist since you have completed the first step. What is the second
step of C.U.B.E.S.?
(If they correctly identify underline the question, they are ready to continue on. If not, a review of the
steps is necessary.)

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

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Underline the sentence that reads: How many total donuts does he have for his party? since that is the
question being asked.

What is the third step of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy?


(Students should respond with boxing any math action words. If students have trouble remembering
the step, the teacher will need to review the procedure with the class.)
Box the word, total as the math action word.

For the next step, you need to evaluate which mathematical operation needs to be used to reach the
answer. Which operation should be used since the math action word is total? (addition)

(If students have trouble determining the operation, the teacher can use this opportunity to provide
additional guided questions such as the following:
What is another word for total?
Does total mean that we are adding or taking away?
What do our math action posters tell us about the word total?)
Students also need to know the value of a dozen and use either addition or multiplication to figure out
how many donuts Ryan purchases.
First, we need to determine how many donuts Ryan bought. What is the value of two dozen? (24)
You can either multiply 12 by 2 or add 12 plus 12 to find out how many donuts Ryan bought.
(The evidence of their evaluation step will be present when they show the work they do to solve the
problem.)
The last step is to solve and check. Student work could be similar to this:

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

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3) There are 5 second grade classes at Millbrook Elementary school. Each class has 18 students. How
many students are in the second grade altogether?
This story problem contains all of the elements used in the C.U.B.E.S. procedure. What is the first
step? (circle key numbers)
Which numbers are important in solving the problem? (5 and 18)
Circle 5 and 18 with a pink crayon to show you have identified the numbers that will be used in your
calculations:

Place a check next to the C on their checklist since you have completed the first step. What is the second
step of C.U.B.E.S.?
(If they correctly identify underline the question, they are ready to continue on. If not, a review of the
steps is necessary.)
Underline the sentence that reads: How many students are in the second grade altogether? since that is
the question being asked.

What is the third step of the C.U.B.E.S. strategy?


(Students should respond with boxing any math action words. If students have trouble remembering
the step, the teacher will need to review the procedure with the class.)

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

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Box the words, altogether and each as the math action words.

For the next step, you need to evaluate which mathematical operation needs to be used to reach the
answer. Which operation should be used since the math action words are altogether and each?
(multiplication)

(If students have trouble determining the operation, the teacher can use this opportunity to provide
additional guided questions such as the following:)
Does the word altogether mean that our final answer is getting bigger or smaller?
What operation does the word each go with?
We will multiply 5 and 18 since there are 18 students in each of the 5 classes. This gives us 90 students
altogether. To check our work, we will divide 90 by 5. Since our answer is 18, we have performed the
correct steps.
(Student work could be similar to this:)

(The guided practice examples reflect one of the primary presentation forms in Merrills Component
Display Theory (Culatta, 2013). The teacher scaffolds student learning during these first three examples
by asking them what each letter of C.U.B.E.S. stands for, what the next step is, and what operation should
be utilized in solving. Asking the students to state what each letter in C.U.B.E.S. stands for is an example
of recall, another primary presentation form (Culatta, 2013). The teacher and students solve each problem
together so students understand how to utilize this strategy in solving word problems.)
4) The cat family had 48 members. of the family are female, the remainder are male. How many male
members are in the cat family?
You will solve this problem in small groups. I am available to offer assistance if you need it.

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

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(Students will be placed in groups of five or six students, and each group will have a worksheet with this
problem and the C.U.B.E.S. checklist beside it. The guiding questions provided for the teacher are
available to the groups who need it and are not directed towards the entire class.)
You will need to place a check mark next to the correspondent step on their checklist to show that the
step has been completed.
(The teacher will ask students guided questions while they work. The teacher will also walk around and
check on each groups work process, clarify ambiguous parts, and explain incorrect steps.)
(Students will read the problem carefully first.)
What will your first step be?
(Students should circle the key numbers. If the students read the problem right, they will circle 48 and
to show they have identified the numbers that will be used in their calculations)

(During this step, the teacher will walk around the room and check students work to make sure each
group circles these key numbers. If there are missing numbers, teacher needs to explain it and correct
students work immediately. Students will place a checkmark beside C on their checklist once they have
circled the key numbers.)
Which numbers did you circle? (this ensures that all of the necessary numbers are identified)
(Next, once all the students understand step one, they should underline the sentence that reads: How
many male members are in the cat family? During this step, the teacher will check whether each group
has highlighted the correct sentence.)

What sentence did you underline as the question? (wait for student responses)
What should you do next? (Students should respond that they will box any math action words in the
given word problem. They will need to box the word, remainder as the math action word.)

Running Head: 4th Grade - Problem Solving using the C.U.B.E.S. Procedure

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Since our math action word was remainder, which operation needs to be used to solve this problem?
(division)

(If students have trouble determining the operation, the teacher can use this opportunity to provide
additional guided questions such as the following:)
Does remainder mean we are taking away or adding?
What does our math action wall say about the word remainder?
Since we know of the family are female members, we need to find the number of female members in
the cat family. To do this we need to divide 48 by 4 to find that there are 12 female members. Then, we
will subtract 12 from 48 to find the number of male members since the math action word was
remainder. From this operation, we find that there are 36 male members. To check our work, we can
multiply 12 by 3. Since we get an answer of 36 male members, we have found the correct answer.
(During these calculations, the teacher needs to make sure that students understand each step and the
connections between the words. If students get confused during the operations, the teacher needs to
review prior steps and procedures. Since students are in groups, they will able to help with each other
while the teacher is also asking guiding questions.)
(Student work could be similar to this:)

Feedback & Correctives


(Student groups turn in their work for problem #4. The teacher looks over the papers and picks one that is
not quite right [no student names are shown to avoid embarrassment]. That paper is shared under the
document camera)

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This group was off to a really great start. Who can find one thing this group did well?
(The teacher calls on several students to bring attention to the positive things done by the group.)
Who can find where this group made a mistake?
(The teacher calls on students until the errors have been identified.)
Why might the group have made that mistake?
(The teacher calls on students to help others understand where common errors come from.)
What could this group have done differently to get to the correct answer?
(The teacher guides the discussion to help students see how to correct common errors.)
(This fourth guided practice example and the following independent practice problems allow students to
practice the skills theyve learned; practice is an additional primary presentation form (Culatta, 2013).
Both the fourth guided practice example and the independent practice problems provide the teacher with
an opportunity to give students feedback on their work. Feedback is a secondary presentation form
(Culatta, 2013). The teachers feedback during the fourth guided practice example is verbal as shown
above in the teacher script.
(Expertise Reversal, Problem Completion & Guidance Fading Effects: According to the environmental
organizing and linking principle, increases in knowledge result in decreases in element interactivity and
complexity as interacting elements are incorporated into schemas that are treated as a single element
(Sweller, 2011). With the demonstration video and the teachers guided problem practices, students word
problem solving skills change from low level (novice) to higher level (expertise). The completion effect
occurs when students are presented with completion of the problems. With further increases in expertise,
the next step for students is to conduct independent practice.)
Independent Practice
Next, we will be using a C.U.B.E.S. app to practice our procedure a bit more. You will be working by
yourself on the next few problems. (App prototype shown & described below)
Everyone should start on Level 1. When you feel ready, move to Level 2 and then on to Level 3. Let me
show you how the app works!
(The teacher will do an example from Level 1 on their own device and show what the screen looks like
under the document camera. The students will be called on to help explain the steps as the teacher
demonstrates the use of the app. The teacher will make a few mistakes to show how the app responds to
that. All help and share features will be demonstrated to the class.)

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You will now have some time to work your way through some questions. You will have to complete one
assessment set within the app before today is done, so please be sure to practice each level during this
time. Make sure you share your answers on the Popplet wall! You will not be completing the assessment
during this time.
(The teacher will use this time to monitor the class as well as the Popplet wall and other features available
in the app. By doing so, the teacher will be monitoring student progress. The teacher will also be
available to answer any questions that arise, or to pull small groups of students to practice the math
standard that is the focus of the lesson. The teacher will give the class reminders to move up through the
levels as needed. After enough practice time has elapsed, the teacher will refocus the class and gather
them in a whole group setting. Since students are working their way through the levels independently,
there is no added pressure of trying to complete a task at the same time as your peers. Students who may
take more time to complete math problems do not feel rushed by the other students and can complete the
tasks at their own pace. Also, students who can finish faster do not have to wait for their fellow
classmates to finish the problem set before moving on to the next level.)
Now that you have practiced solving problems using the C.U.B.E.S. procedure, it is time for you to
create some word problems! You will be working in the same groups as earlier. Each group needs to
create two word problems that can be solved using the C.U.B.E.S. procedure. The word problems need to
be sent to me using the learner response system (ex: ActivExpressions) we have. You will have ten
minutes to create two word problems.
(The teacher will send groups to different locations in the classroom and monitor students as they create
their word problems. As the word problems are sent in, the teacher will copy and paste them into a word
processing document to print for homework.)
Evaluation
The word problems you have just created will be your homework for tonight! You can use the app to
photograph the word problem and post each of your answers to the Popplet wall. We will be reviewing
these tomorrow. Now it is time to take the quick assessment in our C.U.B.E.S. app. Try your best as you
solve the problems! You can do it!
(The teacher will evaluate the results of the assessment after it has been completed. Based on the results,
the teacher will determine if the students are struggling with the C.U.B.E.S. process or with the
mathematical CCES that was being evaluated. The assessment results will be used to guide further
instruction. Students that are absent from class will be able to access the app from any mobile device.
They can complete the levels and assessment from a separate location. The distance learning possibilities
make the use of this app appealing to teachers and students! The teachers feedback from the assessment
will be mostly written, but the teacher may also provide verbal feedback to students if necessary.)

Enhancing Retention & Transfer


The goal of this lesson is for students to understand how to apply the C.U.B.E.S. procedure to any word
problem. Since word problems are common in elementary school math, they can be practiced with each
CCES. Review lessons for how to use the C.U.B.E.S. procedure properly can be taught sporadically

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throughout the year. Students get the opportunity to practice using the C.U.B.E.S. procedure in different
math units. This repeated practice helps to ensure retention and transfer is increased when students apply
the procedure to word problems in mathematical units not practiced in this lesson (ex: area & perimeter,
geometry, elapsed time, etc.). Having students create word problems to be solved using the C.U.B.E.S.
procedure also helps learners internalize the knowledge and apply it, which enhances retention and
transfer as well.

Prototype for the technology

Description of technology
Our technology is an app to help students practice utilizing the C.U.B.E.S. procedure to strengthen their
problem solving skills particularly with word problems. The app would contain a database of CCES

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based word problems from which students and/or teachers could choose. The teacher will set up their
class within the app so each student has an account where their information will be saved and can be
viewed by the teacher. The teacher will pick specific standards for the students to be working on and a
word problem(s) will appear on the screen of the
device the student is working on.
When looking at the screen, there would be several
tools across the top: a circle tool, an underline tool,
a box tool, and a symbol for each of the possible
operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, &
division. Also available to students would be a
number of tools that could help them solve the
problem such as a number path, 10 frames,
hundreds chart, etc.

There will be three levels in the app as well as an


assessment section. Level 1 starts with a lot of
scaffolding to guide students through the process.
As the levels progress, the scaffolding is slowly
removed to promote independence (Sharma & Hannafin 2007, p. 29). The students can pick which level
they want to work on: Level 1 - The learner is taken step-by-step through the C.U.B.E.S. process. There
are auditory as well as visual cues as to the steps that need to be taken. This allows students with special
needs (such as hearing impairments) to access additional help (Spector, 2012, p. 144). For example,
before the student does anything, the audio starts and a C comes up on the screen. The audio explains that
the first step is to circle key numbers and that sentence is shown in text next to the C. Then, the circle
tool, which will be located across the top of the screen, will flash. This indicates that the student needs to
click on the circle tool to place circles over the key numbers in the word problem. After the student
successfully places the circle, the audio will begin again, accompanied by the visual of the letter U
appearing on the screen. The student will be taken through each step of the process in a similar manner.
Level 2 takes away some of the support. In this level, students will be reminded with a visual & simple
audio what step they are to do next. For example, when the student is starting the problem, the C will
flash on the screen and the audio will state the letter as a reminder that the student needs to circle the key
numbers. The student gets a small reminder of
what they need to do, but some of the scaffolding
has been removed. Level 3 will not include any
visual or audio component to aid the student. The
student at this level is expected to use the tools
provided and move through the C.U.B.E.S. process
independently.

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One of the features of this app will be the help toolbar located on the right hand side. There will be 4
icons for students to choose from. The first icon will be a black speech bubble with a question mark.
When clicked, the student will be given the option of watching the video presented at the beginning, or to
view the checklist they have been using in class. The self-check icon will look similar to the help button,
but will be orange with a green check mark. This button will flash the circles, underlines, and boxed
action words for students to check if they have completed the first three steps of C.U.B.E.S. Finally the
multi-colored solve icon will check the students input and flash green if done correctly or red if
incorrectly while highlighting in red the incorrect areas. This will allow students to check their work
and make sure they have completed the correct steps (and identified key information).
A Popplet will be embedded in the app so that students can save their steps and answers, and then share
their answers on the popplet with their peers. This will allow students to compare and contrast their
answers with others to make sure they have completed the correct steps and have diverse perspectives.
After the students have built up their skills and confidence, they can go to the assessment portion of the
app. Here, the students will be given 3-4 different word problems. They are expected to use the
C.U.B.E.S. process to solve the problems. Student work and answers are recorded and sent to the teacher.
Results are separated by CCES so the teacher can see which students still need help on specific standards.
The teacher can oversee work done in all levels as well as what is being posted on the Popplet wall.
Applying Mayers Multimedia Design Principles
When designing the app we used several of Mayers (2009) principles. Coherence principle is used as we
wanted the design to be clean and clear of extraneous words, pictures, and sounds. There is a well
defined working area and tools are clearly labeled. Cues are provided when help buttons are selected
(Signaling Principle) and corresponding words and pictures are presented near each other in the toolbars
(Spatial Contiguity Principle). Segmenting and Pre-training principles were applied through the use of
the multiple levels built into the app, starting with level 1 which presents background knowledge,
vocabulary, and scaffolds the skills required to complete levels 2 and 3. Multimedia principle was used
by presenting images with text while Personalization and Voice principles were used by having the
narrator speak in a friendly, conversational style. Mayers principles are rooted in cognitive and
constructivist theories and have two major goals of learning, remembering and understanding. These
learning outcomes are aligned with the learning outcomes for our particular lesson, thus the use of this
app will allow opportunities for retention and transfer.
Addressing Limitations of ID1 and Applying ID2 Concepts
To address the limitations of knowledge acquisition, an interactive whiteboard and software such as Smart
Notebook can be used to create a template for designing interactive math word problems. Developing a
template that could be used across several lessons saves the instructor considerable time. This template
could include a voki which would deliver the objectives and read the problems to students, acting as a
guide when used in a small group or independent setting. This pretraining would allow students to be
reminded of what the names and main characteristics of the C.U.B.E.S process is before they begin.
Using an interactive template would incorporate several of Mayers principles of multimedia learning.
Signaling would occur when the instructor or student highlights relevant information, such as circling the
key number, underlining an action word, etc. The use of a checklist with pictures accompanying the steps

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applies Mayers multimedia principle and allows learners to construct verbal and visual mental models
and make the necessary connections between them.
Another limitation that can be addressed through the use of technology with this lesson is the ability to
integrate many different concepts and processes in a single lesson. The interactive template will expose
students to math vocabulary, functions, representations, and other pieces of content that would typically
be taught separately through ID1. Using the template will integrate all the pieces into a meaningful whole
where students can make connections between concepts and apply what they know to each new situation,
or problem given.
By using tablets as input devices instruction is no longer passive as typical with ID1. Students are not
only thinking about problems, they are actively trying to solve them with the guidance and support of
their instructor and C.U.B.E.S. checklist. Each step of C.U.B.E.S. is being elaborated through the use of
the template, with interactive shapes, highlighters, and colors being used to build new and strengthen
existing knowledge.
Using student response systems addresses the limited prescription of course organization inherent in ID1
by allowing continuous assessment throughout the lesson, informing the instructor of how the learning is
going, as well as identifying areas that could be improved. Traditionally the instructor chooses a list of
student objectives, delivers instruction, and assesses learning at the end. Student response systems allow
continuous assessment to drive instruction, providing opportunities for remediation throughout the lesson.
Discussion of need for the technology
Using an app for solving problems with C.U.B.E.S would allow students to apply problem solving skills
in a highly interactive, engaging way. The use of digital manipulatives and tools available in the app
would allow for students to explore different ways to solve problems. The assessment feature would allow
teachers to assess mastery of standards for benchmark and progress monitoring purposes. Also, teachers
will be able to assess learning and identify areas of misunderstanding by looking at how the problem was
solved by the students work. This additional data would allow for remediation opportunities. In
addition, having the popplet feature will allow students to display their work and compare how they
solved the problem with how their peers solved the problem, allowing for them to see multiple
representations of the same answer.
Explanation of how readiness could be assessed
Readiness will need to be accessed at the following levels: school, teacher, and student. For schools to be
ready for this technology, students will need to have access to iPads, tablets, or smartphones. Since this is
intended for elementary school use, iPads or tablets will be the device of choice. Before implementation,
the staff at each school should complete a technology-readiness index similar to the Tri Scale survey
mentioned by Rhee, Verma, Plaschka, and Kickul article (2007). Staff would rate technology statements
based on a Likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). This would help identify the innovativeness,
optimism, discomfort, and insecurity of the staff members (Rhee, Verma, Plaschka, & Kickul, 2007).
This will help the administration, curriculum coaches, and technology facilitators at each school to better
understand the level of technology readiness of their staff members.

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To assess student readiness, the teacher should consider giving students a short survey similar to the
Online Learning Readiness Scale (OLRS) created by Hung, Chou, Chen, and Own (2010). In the survey
described by Hung, Chou, Chen, and Own, self-directed learning and learner control were found to be the
two areas that needed the most development; however, this study was conducted with college students
and online classes (Hung et al., 2010). A shorter, simplified version of the OLRS could be administered
to the elementary school students to determine their iPad self-efficacy, self-directed learning, learner
control, motivation, and online communication self-efficacy.
Explanation of how readiness could be developed
To develop staff readiness, schools should provide professional development opportunities for teachers to
learn about and practice using this app. The school technology facilitator could provide the professional
development during a school workday or common planning period. The results of the technologyreadiness index will help the technology facilitator determine how much time needs to be allotted to
training or how much additional support may need to be provided. If technology-readiness scores were
low, the technology facilitator may want to schedule smaller group help sessions for the teachers who
may need additional support. He or she may also want to schedule times to go in and assist the teachers
in their classrooms when they begin implementing the app with their students. This professional
development training would explain to teachers how to set up their classrooms on the app and provide
students access to their accounts. It would also allow for the technology facilitator to explain to teachers
how to access student reports and view results of practice problems. The professional development time
would also be a time for teachers to view a demonstration of the app at each of the three levels. At the
end, there would be time for the teachers to complete practice problems on the app and use the self-check
and solve features.
To develop student readiness, the teacher would demonstrate the basic features of the app upon
introduction of the tool to the class. Each teacher would show students how to work through a problem at
level 1 and show students how to use the circle tool, underline tool, and box tool. After students decide
which operation should be utilized in the sample problem, the teacher would show them how to use the
appropriate operation on the app (either the addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division sign). They
will also show students how to use the help button to access the C.U.B.E.S. video or checklist. Students
would then have time to complete several practice problems on their own using any of the three levels.
Students can choose the level(s) that they feel comfortable using. This allows them to exhibit learner
control. Teachers would then show students how to use the self-check feature. The teacher will have
students solve a sample problem, possibly from their textbook, on their own. Then the teacher will take a
picture of the problem using the application and show students how to check their work. The app will
show the students the correct problem steps and identify key information. Students will check this
solution against their own. Teachers will then give students time to work on additional problems from
their textbook and check their answers.

Explanation of implications
Using an app for solving problems with C.U.B.E.S would provide a fun learning environment for
students. It helps to improve students cognitive, reflective, and creative developments. It is a great way to
engage students in learning because it attracts their attention. Different students have different learning

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paces and styles. Technology helps them learn at their own pace which they will be more comfortable
with. Students that use technology are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of
information by teachers or textbooks. When students use this app to solve math word problems with
C.U.B.E.S. strategy, they are self-directed and self-disciplined. They will be able to solve the problem
independently with the supplemental teaching aids. As they go to further levels, the supplemental
teaching aids will fade out. With this app, students can get immediate feedback which allows students to
do self-assessment and help them move forward with a rigorous understanding of former steps. Moreover,
students will be equipped with relevant technology skills which helps prepare them as learners and users
in the 21st century. The share tool in this app allows students to share their work with others which allow
them access to multiple perspectives and offer collaboration with others.
There are also some limitations with using this piece of technology in classroom. First, it will reduce the
physical movement of students when they use devices in the classroom. Second, when using this app in
the classroom, students may be distracted by the learning devices. This may cause them to diverge from
the teachers instruction and instead, do something else. However, this kind of distraction can be
monitored by teachers in the classroom environment. Therefore, the teachers role is important when
introducing technology in the classroom. Third, students need time to familiarize themselves with the new
technology and difficulties will always occur. It will take class time to give instructions and solve any
technical problems that occur.
For teachers, this kind of easy to implement app will equip teachers with relevant technological skills and
increase their confidence with using technology in classroom. By using this kind of technology, teachers
can capture students attention and increase motivation. When students show an interest in learning,
teachers are able to demonstrate the course content in a more fluent way. The self-check process in this
app helps relieve teachers workloads (ex: having the same conversations with students again and again).
The monitoring function of this app allows teachers to locate students work and assess how well each
student has done with their word problems. This allows the teachers role to be changed from the center of
the class to facilitating each individual students learning. Teachers will able to find out each students
understanding and weaknesses of applying the problem solving strategies, and then assist them directly.
Some limitations of including this app in classroom may be too much time spent on technology
instruction and solving technical problems. In school, class time is always well-structured with full usage
of instructional time. Too much time spent on such problems will disturb the teaching arrangement and
the achievement of learning objectives. Moreover, if teachers are not familiar with this kind of
technology, it will take some additional time for them to prepare to this technology. In some degree,
students will be distracted by the device. Teachers will have to spend time getting them back on the right
track.
Overall, as we can see, the merits of involving technology in classroom overcome its limitations.
Everything has two sides; as long as we can take full usage of the advantages of technology, it will go
splendidly in the classroom, make students become more engaged and motivated, and improve the
technological skills for both students and teachers.

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