Mathematics

Using High-level Tasks

by Ernie Milcher

“There is no decision that teachers make that has a greater impact on students’ opportunities to learn and on their perceptions about what mathematics is than the selection or creation of the tasks with which the teacher engages students in studying mathematics.” (Lappan and Briars, 1995)

The essence of good teaching involves getting students engaged in productive work. Using high-level tasks can engage students in a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Tasks form the basis for students to learn the nature of mathematics and how to engage in it.

Creating high-level tasks can be challenging. Teachers need to anticipate various solution strategies. They also need to consider what misconceptions their students might have and plan how to respond to questions that students might ask.

When students are provided an opportunity to work on a high-level task in a supportive environment, students can improve their reasoning and problem solving skills as well as increase their conceptual understanding in mathematics.

We invite you to share with us some of the ways you use high-level task in your classroom.

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