Problem solving by any other name

Thomas Lowrie, Tracey Smith

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Knowing when to let go is often a dilemma for teachers using open-ended tasks. The authors explore this issue by describing the engagement of children in an authentic task and examining the teacher's role more closely. One common element that learner-centred approaches (inquiry and investigation) share is that they allow for authentic teaching and learning that can lead to authentic assessment opportunities. This common element can be thought of as authentic pedagogy (Burke, 1999). This article explores one open-ended task given to a Grade 6 class that illustrates what authentic pedagogy might look like. The task contextualised a number of mathematical processes within a meaningful and worthwhile task that also provided an opportunity to assess students' progress. The significant factor for educators is the variety of methods used by students to solve the task. It highlights how one task that is open-ended can accommodate the differing ability levels of students in one 'straight' Grade 6 classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Primary Mathematics Classroom
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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    Lowrie, T., & Smith, T. (2002). Problem solving by any other name. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 7(2), 16-21.