PI: Start adding with pictures. If the problem says there were 3 ducks in a row and 2 more joined them, then have pictures of ducks.
Next, add with abstract representatives. If the problem says there were 2 horses in the stampede and 4 horses joined them, then use circular counters to represent the horses.
After that, have students represent the problem themselves. If the problem says there were 4 fish in the school and 5 fish joined them, the students will be expected to draw four circles next to five circles, then count the circles to find the sum.
Students should be able to identify and correct mistakes in adding numbers. For example: Sally drew the following to represent 2 + 4 = 6:
What did she do wrong? How would you draw it?
Learn how to pick out the important information from a word problem. For example: In the drawer there are three white shirts and two gray shirts. How many shirts are in the drawer? Students must realize that color is irrelevant to the answer.