Show students a picture (I used Google images for ‘reuse’) with a group of countable animals (or any theme) and read about another set of animals they cannot see. The task is to find the total number of animals! Students can work alone, in pairs or in small groups. Have counters available as well as pencils and paper.
As a whole group, ask students to explain and share their problem solving strategy. This task can be easily differentiated and would work well as a “Do Now!”
There are two horse inside the barn. How many horses are there in all?
There are six chickens behind the fence. How many chicken are there in all?
There are three pigs behind the tractor. There are four pigs behind the fence. How many pigs are there in all?
Extension: Ask students to illustrate and create their own word problems.