August 10, 2017

## The Cause:

Students worry about getting the answer wrong in front of the class because they believe that maths answers are always either RIGHT or WRONG.

## The Solution:

The maths we need in the REAL world often involves open ended questions. Think of finding directions on Google Maps. What is the best way to get from A to B? One route might be shorter but include tollways another might involve longer distances but less traffic.

Text book problems are often repetitive with RIGHT answers at the back of the book. But in the real world maths problems nearly always involve THINKING. eg. A building design might require specific engineering maths. Now add costing! That’s an open question. There are many options. Maybe the costing will then change the engineering. Build 20 stories instead of 25.

Thinking Outside the box in Education: Info and Toolbox: here

Prof Faculty of Edu, Simon Fraser Uni, Canada, advocates  open ended questions in the maths classroom.

Here are some of his examples for Year 7 -9 (Download pdf file at the link):

Concert in Toronto;

You have won tickets to a concert in Toronto but must plan your trip using flight times to arrive at the concert by 9pm.

Two Bike Race:

You are in a bike race and have to use a street bike and trail bike, but one bike must be left somewhere on the route.  You travel at different speeds depending on which bike you use. What route do you take? (A basic map is included.)

## Something inspiring:

Maths is often about playing around with answers. This is how play led a class of 12 year olds to produce a peer reviewed research paper published in a science journal.