Everything in maths should be coated in problem solving and continually maintained throughout the year. So where do you start? Undercoating children's thinking with open-ended problems helps prepare the way and also assists us in gauging the level at which our pupils are achieving.
In looking at open-ended problems, children become skilled at answering in more than one way. For example, if a rectangle has an area of 24 centimetres squared, what might the length of its sides be? This could produce a range of answers from 1cm x 24cm to 3.2cm x 7.5cm. Asking children to write 20 numbers between 6.8 and 6.9 could similarly bring a variety of responses.
Open-ended problems are an ideal foundation for children to then create their own. Problem solving is rich in reasoning and we should be doing it every day
John Dabell is a numeracy consultant and teacher trainer