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Multi-Step Math Detectives Task Cards



Encourage your students to think critically about problem solving by EXPLAINING and JUSTIFYING their answers on multi-step word problems. Your students will become detectives as they solve multi-step problems involving all operations in this fun and rigorous math activity.

Math Detective Task Cards * Justify & Explain Thinking in Multi-Step Problems

*GOOGLE ACCESS Now included!*

On each of these 32 half-page task cards, students read a math problem as well as two detective’s ways (process) of solving the problem. Only one detective is correct, and the students have to figure out what detective did the math process correctly. Then, they have to explain why the detective is right (or why the other one was wrong).

Your students will LOVE finding the detective's mistakes while still practicing critical math problem solving skills. These cards are perfect for whole group instruction, small groups, warms ups, enrichment, math centers, early finishers, etc.

A recording sheet is included, where your students must tell which detective was correct, explain why they were correct, and then find the answer to the problem.

An answer key is included with sample explanations.

I made these task cards as an extension of my error analysis products! My current error analysis products focus on errors in computation, but these task cards focus on errors in PROCESS, another equally important skill, especially when it comes to multi-step problem solving.

These task cards are best suited for students in grades 4+ as all operations (including some multi-digit multiplication and long division) are required to solve the problems.

Interested in MORE Error Analysis Ideas? Check out these products!

Long Division Error Analysis

Multi-Digit Multiplication Error Analysis

What are real teachers saying about these math detective task cards??

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Who doesn't like a challenge? My gifted students love being a detective while solving problems. They beg to do these task cards!!” – Susan F.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Any digital resource from Teaching With a Mountain View is gold. This resource is no exception. It's engaging AND rigorous. My students struggle with multi step word problems, and these digital task cards are the perfect addition to help support my class.” – Aimee K.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐“I used these both in person and digitally with my students. The 5 star reviews don't lie – they're awesome! These were a challenge for all of my students in the best way. I loved that many of the incorrect answers are common mistakes students make solving these problems. It really helped my students to think through their answers!” – Rebecca H.


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