Are you looking for something to entice your students to do more math than you’ve ever seen before? Find a task that allows all learners in your classroom to perform!
What to look for?
When looking for a task, you will want to know your end goal for your lesson in mind, many of our tasks have this goal, but you may need to modify yours depending on your context. Give your students the benefit of the doubt, they know a lot more than you may realize, but need the change to try out their skills.
My favorite type of task is something called a “Low-Floor High-Ceiling” task. This is because all students can attempt the problem using skills they already have, but teachers can encourage and push individual students and groups to take the task beyond the basics of the problem. Jo Boaler (of Stanford University) and her team have produced many examples, the Border Problem is one of my favorites.
Things to know before doing a task…you want to be prepared
THIS WILL BE MESSY!!! The first time you implement a task in your class, you will find things that go REALLY well and some things that are total flops. There is a lot to attend to at the beginning, the role of the teacher shifts from the person who holds the content knowledge, to the person who is listening, questioning, encouraging, noticing and redirecting. Peg Smith and Mary Kay Stein (2008) have published an easy read guide called 5 Practices for Orchestrating Mathematical Discussion for how to using tasks and discussions in classes at all grade levels and ability bands. When I tried these strategies, I was surprised not only by how many students engaged, but who engaged in these tasks.
Our task posts are organized into the following categories and subcategories:
- Algebraic Functions
- Number & Quantity
- Statistics and Probability
Links to tasks on other websites: