Challenge: Why it is important in Maths Learning?
Peter Sullivan states that students will learn mathematical concepts when they are given the right amount of challenge for engagement and are engaged to build connections between mathematical ideas.
Teachers need to choose a task that is an appropriate amount of challenge and open ended so students ranging in ability levels can enter the task.
Students gain a satisfaction from overcoming challenge which leads to confidence and an ability to persist. When persist students can achieve anything in mathematical learning and in life.
When given a challenging task it is required that students work on their own for a small amount of time (5-10minutes). During this time it is expected that students do not appeal for teacher help but endeavour to solve the task or get started on the task themselves.
So what does a challenging task look like?
Junior Primary Time:
A family had 5 people in it. They all went to bed at different times. What might the clock of looked like for each persons bedtime?
Middle Primary Division:
A trader travels from 1 place to another carrying 3 sacks with 30 watermelons each. No sack can hold more than 30 watermelons. On the way he passes through 30 checkpoints and at each checkpoint he has to give 1 watermelons for each sack he is carrying. How many watermelons are left in the end?
Upper Primary Multiplication:
There were seven girls on a bus
Each girls has seven backpacks.
In each backpack, there are seven big dogs.
For each big dog there are seven little dogs.
How many legs are on the bus not counting the driver?
Petter Sullivan Challenging Maths Tasks.
Peter Maher: Macmillian Maths Problem Solving Cards. (Some of the tasks are adapted from Peter Maher's cards). Purchase from MacMillian Education.