Integrating Rich Tasks - Activity 3

Stage: 1 and 2
Article by Jennifer Piggott
To go back to the introduction to this series of professional development activities, click here

Integrating rich tasks into the whole curriculum

The aim of this activity is to integrate some rich tasks into curriculum planning. Although there are other possibilities, at this stage we will look at two sources for these tasks:
  • NRICH
  • exisiting schemes of work
All the work we have done so far should feed into this activity, which is designed to be the starting point for a longer period of planning and development. The long-term aim is for you to think about your teaching and how it can be enhanced, but to start with you will need to select something that is realistic and achievable. You can always extend what you do at a later date.

You will need the following resources:

Task 1
First a reminder that we are not assuming that you are going to change everything now, you are just making a start. For this reason, we suggest you could begin by planning for a mathematical topic that you will teach this term.

There are many different approaches to planning for the integration of rich tasks, for example you could:
  • Look at your current scheme of work and use the content mapping documents to find problems that are a good fit with the particular topic you are covering.
  • Consider what using and applying skills you want your pupils to develop and use the process mapping documents to identify appropriate problems. You might use these as one-off problems but they will also address subject content knowledge so why not use them when you are covering that topic in your scheme of work?
  • Identify a theme to work on for a longer period of time. Examples of themes are:
    • problems that employ several aspects of content knowledge (e.g. factors and multiples)
    • the development of problem-solving skills (the whole process)
    • the development of particular mathematical thinking skills (e.g. 'working systematically' or 'visualising')
    • an application of mathematics (e.g. time and its measurement)
The mapping documents will help with the first two approaches suggested above (content and process blocks). There are no specific documents designed to support the third approach but the Maths finder and Packages on NRICH can help. There is also a 'search NRICH' option found at the top of every NRICH page.

Alternatively (or in addition) you could identify potentially rich tasks you are already using and extend them in the ways you did in Activities 1.1 and 1.2 .

What next? - Task 2
Whichever approach you take, for each problem you will need to spend time thinking about why it is rich (for the problems from the NRICH mapping documents this has already been done) and what you will need to do in the classroom to support pupils in making the most of them (as in Activity 2.1 ). As you try things out, you will refine ideas and will feed back to your colleagues what worked well and why. Please do feed back to NRICH too.
This is no small task and that it is why it is worth starting with something small and achievable rather than trying to do everything all at once.

We will look at evaluation in the next Activity .

Return to the introduction
Go back to Activity 2.2
Move on to Activity 4.1