Number stories are also called story problems -- perhaps in part because they illustrate how math is used to solve problems in real-world situations. Number stories are first introduced in first grade as a way to help students make sense of number relationships.

Act It Out

Get your students moving with some gross and fine-motor activities designed to help them create and understand number stories. Tell your students a number story and ask them to act it out as you tell it. For example, you might say: "Nathan held up one pencil and two pens. Amy held up two pencils and two pens. How many pencils and pens do Nathan and Amy have altogether?" As they act it out, write the number story on the board. If your students can read, try writing the story on the board and having them act it out as you write it. Use subtraction, multiplication and division as appropriate. Alternately, pass out manipulatives to your students and have them act out the number story with the manipulatives as you tell it. Write the story on the board. Finally, ask them use manipulatives to create and write their own stories. Younger children who cannot write well might be asked to recite stories as you type them or can work together to create a whole-class number story.