Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat
“… a teacher of mathematics has a great opportunity. If he fills his allotted time with drilling his students in routine operations he kills their interest, hampers their intellectual development, and misuses his opportunity. But if he challenges the curiosity of his students by setting them problems proportionate to their knowledge, and helps them to solve their problems
with stimulating questions, he may give them a taste for, and some means of, independent thinking.”
Polya, G. (1945) How to Solve it
We know that good mathematicians are not only good at answering questions - they are good at asking questions, experimenting with examples, conjecturing, looking for connections, and finding new ways of applying familiar ideas.
Here is a selection of NRICH starting points, including links to translated problems available at MatteLIST
, which are intended to surprise, intrigue, puzzle and engage your students, and may lead them to:
Pythagorean Triples Pythagorean slides
Factors and Multiples Game
or Faktor og multiplum
Five Steps to 50
Mind Reader here
followed by Always a Multiple?
followed by What Numbers Can We Make?
or Hvilke tall kan vi lage?
Keep it Simple
Summing Consecutive Numbers
or Summer av påfølgende tall
or Hva er mulig?
Tilted Squares - Teaching Using Rich Tasks
Charlie's Delightful Machine
or Slå på lysene!
followed by a discussion of Andrei's strategy in the solution
What's it Worth?
or Nesten 1
To create a better society, first we must imagine it. But then we must act.
"A tiny act is worth a million thoughts" (Ai Wei Wei).
Links to resources to support teachers:
for the classroom.
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“I don't expect, and I don't want, all children to find mathematics an engrossing study, or one that they want to devote themselves to either in school or in their lives. Only a few will find mathematics seductive enough to sustain a long term engagement. But I would hope that all children could experience at a few moments in their careers ... the power and excitement of
mathematics ... so that at the end of their formal education they at least know what it is like and whether it is an activity that has a place in their future.”