Wish you could spend less time finding good tasks to use for lessons?

Here's how you can turn one short maths problem into an entire lesson.

(It's a method I use for every problem I create.)

## 1. Choose a problem that matters

The problem you choose doesnâ€™t need to be interesting, or even particularly difficult. In fact, the more mundane the better.

(Textbooks and worksheets are a great source.)

Whatâ€™s important is that itâ€™s a skill/concept you want your students to focus on.

## 2. Open it up

Opening up the problem gives you FAR more insight about what your students know.

All it takes is a small tweak.

For example, instead of asking ‘What's halfway between 1/2 and 3/4?', this question asks for ANY fraction between the other two-

## 3. Focus on the reasons

Maths is way more interesting when we focus on reasons – not just answers.

It also helps students make sense of ideas and understand different approaches.

Ask-

- How do you know?
- Can you explain it a different way?
- How are these solutions similar? different?

## 4. Follow up with similar problems

The power of a problem comes when you follow with a similar one.

It allows students to take existing and known strategies into a different context or to look at an idea in a new way.

A similar problem also feels safer – it gives students an entry point thatâ€™s familiar.

Here are 2 examples:

**Example 1. **After identifying any fraction, between two others, students are asked this question-

**Example 2. **This next follow up problem starts to draw out a general principle-

## Summary

How to turn one short maths problem into an entire lesson:

- Choose a problem that matters
- Open it up
- Focus on the reasons
- Follow up with similar problems.