Great Problems

Thinking more about problem design. Will have some original thoughts on the topic soon, but in the meantime, this post from Avery caught my eye (forget where I found it from). Really like this list, and also like the comment from John Scammell with his own summary of good problems, reproduced below:

A good problem is:

Given at the beginning of the learning, not at the end.

Non-routine. Students can not answer it immediately. 

Allows every student an entry into it. 

Is compelling enough that students are engaged in the problem.

Is interesting enough that students are compelled to persevere.

Fosters discussion and debate.

Invites multiple methods of solution.

Love this list. Love it. This is the type of stuff I post above my desk at school. However, my skepticism, and the motivation of my series of posts on problem design, is that it is a) hard and b) time-consuming to come up with problems that meet all of these criteria. I think a difference could be made in more classrooms, and more classes in those classrooms, with a shift toward more small (2-10 minute) problems that promote a subset of these principles, and that the sum of those problems is an extremely high-quality education.

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