Sunday, 26 July 2015


 Students need to be encouraged to investigate problems for patterns, rather than just have exercises which have single answers.

Too often maths Teaching is about asking Closed Questions, that is a question that has just one answer.  We need to change this to Open Questions, where students investigate and come up with various answers which they have to Justify.

A simple way to start with Open Questions is to start with the "answer" and ask what is the question/start?     e.g. The answer is 36 what is the question?

The beauty of this is that it caters for all abilities in a mixed ability class or group.  (One child might suggest "what is one more than 35?" while another, "what two numbers produce a product of 36?" and another, "What is The Square Root of 36?"

What a rich discussion could eventuate as all responses are shared and discussed

 Try this with your class, allow calculators if necessary, as the process is the important issue here

• Choose three single digits all different

• Using the three digits make all the two-digit numbers.

• Add the 6 two digit numbers together

• Add the original 3 single digits

• Divide the sum of the 6 pairs by the sum of the 3 digits

• What did you get? Why do you think this happens?

• Try with another set of 3 digits. Does the same thing happen?

• Does it work with 2 digits? 5 digits? 6 digits?

• What is the “maths behind this”? Let the numbers be a and b and c

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