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Animate a Math Word Problem

By Jen Perry 45-60 minutes
Grades 1-3
English Language Arts,
  • Programming
  • Technology and Society
Tools & Languages
Scratch Jr.

Key Coding Concepts

  • Algorithms
  • Events
  • Sequences



a step-by-step set of operations to be performed to help solve a problem



When one thing causes another thing to happen



Identifying a series of steps necessary to complete a task; computers read and perform tasks in order from top to bottom

Learners will create a ScratchJr program that animates their own math word problem.


  • Some previous experience with ScratchJr may be beneficial, but not necessary.


  • Device with ScratchJr


Before the lesson…

  • Prepare a math word problem that is relevant to mathematical concepts being learned in class.


  1. As a class, write some math word problems together. For example, if grade one learners are learning addition strategies, write a word problem that focuses on simple addition (e.g. Last night Gray went home and read 7 books and Quinn went home and read 5 books. How many books did they read altogether?)
  2. Have learners independently write their own math word problems. Have them share with a partner and solve. Learners will choose their favourite math problem to animate.


  1. Give learners 10 minutes to freely explore ScratchJr.
  2. Share project exemplar with learners.
  3. Have learners create a new project.
  4. Learners can work independently or with a partner to animate a word problem.
  5. Learners can type their word problem in the text box (show them how to select a small font size. Also, depending on the length of their word problem they may have to select two text boxes as each box has a limited number of characters).
  6. Learners will choose sprite(s), a background and insert/draw objects that represent their word problem.
  7. On the next page, learners can add 3 new sprites (blank white sheet) and using the paintbrush feature, write 3 different numbers (one of them being the correct answer).
  8. Each number answer should be animated. Use the yellow ‘Start on Tap’ block to program each answer. Learners can add blue movement blocks to make the answer spin, etc. Also, learners should add the purple looks block, ‘Say’ (this will show a specified message in a speech bubble above the sprite). If the answer is correct, the speech bubble will say, “Correct!” If the answer is not correct, the speech bubble will say, “Try again!”
  9. Learners can share their animated word program with a classmate.


If learners require more support, assist them in writing a word problem or pair them with a capable learner.


  • Early finishers or learners who need an additional challenge can further animate their word problem (for example, they could voice record their word problem, add grow/shrink blocks, etc.)
  • Learners could also create a new page with another word problem.

Tech & Society

  • Class discussion: Can computers help people become better mathematicians?
  • If time permits, learners can explore online math games. Emphasize that these games were created by programmers.

    Math Games (PBS Kids)
    ABCYa Learning Games

ScratchJr Learning Blocks Reference Guide

Project Exemplar

Math Games (PBS Kids)

ABCYa Learning Games

Teach lessons that are tied to your existing curriculum!


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