What is an insightful or challenging problem?

Problem-Solving in the AC refers to having students attempt never-before tried problems.

These can be called insightful or novel problems.  They are completely new to the students, not word problems written from what they have already been taught, or applications of their pre-existing content and skills to a real-life context.  These types of problems usually require students to work out new strategies that they have not been shown, to build new content that they do not yet possess and to experience moments of insightful thinking.

Why we need insightful problems:

An A and B grade for Problem-Solving requires solving problems that are novel to the student, so that he or she is required to develop their own new strategies from their existing knowledge and skills.  The student needs to bring his or her own thinking to bear on the problem, and demonstrate insightfulness.  The teacher provides leading questions to help the student to get ideas to try, evaluate their ideas, and bring the student’s existing knowledge and skills to the problem.

C, D and E grades require students to solve application problems that only require knowledge and skills that the student has already rehearsed in class.  Application problems are not able to be used to assess student work to an A standard.

To find out about how insightful problems are used as the Journal Problems in Back-to-Front Maths click here.

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