Published February 2010,February 2011.
The NRICH website is full of rich tasks and guidance. We want teachers to use what we have to offer having a real sense of what we mean by rich tasks and what that might imply about classroom practice.
We do not present lesson plans because this is contrary to the very nature of what we are about. If we wrote lesson plans it would imply there is only one way to use our resources and also that there is only one route through a problem. As many of our tasks have the potential for multiple starting points, multiple routes and multiple endpoints; any suggestion that there is a well-defined lesson
that can be built around them is wrong. However, we realise that we need to help people get started, so we produce resources such as teachers' notes for each of the problems and mapping documents to help link NRICH resources to the bigger picture. These additional resources are professional tools which can aid teachers' development. In keeping with our aim to support teachers supporting
themselves, there is also an online CPD (continuing professional development) package for Primary teachers all about rich tasks (it would be nice if there were one for secondary teachers too but we have not found the funding to implement this as yet). We also offer face to face CPD. Such development offerings are made in the context of NRICH's philosophy, so we hope we not only offer rich tasks
but that we also offer rich CPD.
So, when I was approached by Pete Griffin (NCETM SW regional coordinator) to run a session on the CPD equivalent of rich tasks, our discussion of what that might look like led to the question:
Here is a list of characteristics of a rich task adapted from my article on the NRICH website. Not all problems on the website cover all these characteristics but I believe that any rich task will map to a number of these characteristics. The task:
You might notice some division of these descriptions and that is because I want to emphasise the point about rich tasks being more than a problem in isolation, it is also about: