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Questions to spark curiosity

curiosity education learning maths playful teaching

In play, there is a sense of the unknown. 

While we have a rough idea of the activity, we never really know what's going to happen until the play plays out.

It feels as though this unknown, this mystery, is what makes the stories we tell later on so special. 

'We did this... and then this happened.... and, you won't believe it but.....And then....!'

We create stories when we play. Play stories.

So how can we harness the element of surprise and of the unknown in the maths learning landscape? 

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Starting with open-ended questions are important. Here are some of our go-to's:

✨ What do you/we know about...?

Here's a (1 minute) video of how this question can start a conversation some good learning going. 

Notice how the conversations plays out. What do you find interesting or surprising? 

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✨ What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Presenting an image that contains mathematical ideas and asking What do you notice? What do you wonder? is a sure way to activate and draw out existing knowledge. 

It can be a good way to ensure that the teaching extends on what learners already know. 

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  What's possible with...?

The question 'What's possible with...?" is one of our go-to questions to spark curiosity in a way that allows students to own their 'playing with maths' experience.  

For instance, asking What's possible with these materials? and giving time to play with a range of maths manipulatives is a sure way for counting opportunities and to emerge.

Sorting and organising occurs organically...Check out this natural data representation!

Pattern block play nearly always results in fun and beautiful symmetry...

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✨ What do you/we know about...?

✨ What do you notice? What do you wonder?

  What's possible with...?

Just three (of many) questions that spark curiosity, invite action and create meaningful opportunities for engaging with important maths concepts.

 

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