Rich Problems, Dept.

traditional math

If you hang around long enough in the world of math education you’ll hear people refer to “rich problems”. What exactly are rich problems?
 
One definition is: “A problem that has multiple entry points and has various levels of cognitive demands. Every student can be successful on at least part of it.”
 
My definition differs a bit: “One-off, open-ended, ill-posed problems that supposedly lead students to apply/transfer prior knowledge to new or novel problems that don’t generalize.” 
 
For example: “What are the dimensions of a rectangle with a perimeter of 24 units?”
 
 A student who may know how to find the perimeter of a rectangle but cannot provide some of the infinitely many possibilities is viewed as not having “deep understanding”.
Rather, the student’s understanding is viewed as “inauthentic” and “algorithmic” because the practice, repetition and imitation of procedures is merely “imitation of thinking”.
 
I…

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