The Good Learning Environment - Trondheim 2018

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 starting points which will encourage students to do exactly this.


see MA/ATM London
Dancing factorisation

Cryptarithms
Subtraction Surprise
Summing Consecutive Numbers
Take three from five
What's Possible?
Charlie's Delightful Machine
Factors and Multiples Game 
Perimeter Expressions
Odds and Evens Made Fair
Unequal Averages
Wipeout
Marbles in a Box
Tilted Squares
Steel Cables
Amazing Card Trick


“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.”

David Wheeler