Teaching Problems and Solutions

Problems and Solutions

Teaching students to understand problems and solutions is a breeze with real-life examples, but spotting them in the nonfictional text is much more difficult.

Grab this pdf to get links to free text structure activities and printables found at Book Units Teacher.

What is a Problem and Solution Text Structure?

Problem and Solution Anchor Chart

A problem is defined as something that needs to be solved. The solution is the means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation. 

Problems may be…

between individuals


      • a robber holding up a person
      • a disagreement or fight
      • bullying
      • between groups
between groups


  • prejudice
  • rivalry
  • disagreement over pay
  • culture differences
something going on in the world


  • global economic collapse
  • pollution
  • global warming
  •  war
  • terrorism
  • weapons of mass destruction
  • overpopulation
with just one person


  • a struggle between good and evil
  • using logic or emotion to rule decision making

Free Printable Problem and Solution Organizers

Signal or Key Words for Problems and Solutions

  • as a result
  • because
  • consequently
  • if…then…
  • since
  • therefore
  • leads to
  • so that

How to Write a Problem and Solution Paragraph

  1. Write a sentence that states the problem. This sentence should be an attention grabber. You may wish to start it with a statement such as . . .
    • Imagine what would happen if . . .
  2. Describe your solution including researched facts. You may use a question such as . . .
    • Did you know that . . .
  3. Write sentences that convince your reader why your solution is reasonable. You might begin with . . .
  • If we . . . then . . .
  • The answer to this is . . .
  1. Convince your reader to take action. Add signal words to these sentences such as . . .
    • One thing we can do is . . .
    • To meet this need, we can . . .

Mentor Text to Teach Problems and Solutions

Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

More Problems and Solutions Blog Posts on Book Units Teacher

Using Animated Shorts to Teach Problems and Solutions Teaching Problems and Solutions with Songs

Common Core State Standards

Teaching the skill problems and solutions shows up in the Common Core State States in fourth grade. As you can see from the standards listed below, fourth-graders must describe and fifth-graders must compare and contrast.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5 Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.

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Text Structures – Problems and Solutions contains lessons and activities for practicing with the skill problems and solutions as well as writing a short essay.   


Check out the other posts in this series by clicking on the buttons below.
FREE Sequencing Writing Activity
Cause and Effect
Compare and Contrast
Problems and Solutions


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