Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

Pedagogy Postcard #18: Problem Solving: Playing Detective

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A series of short posts about specific elements of teaching practice that I think are effective and make life interesting. Some are based on my own lessons and others are borrowed from lessons I’ve observed.


It’s a common decision teachers have to make as to whether there is a value in setting up a situation where students work things out for themselves rather than being told something directly.  This isn’t about ‘discovery learning’ vs ‘direct instruction’ – which is a more fundamental difference relating to a whole approach.  It’s simply about when to set up problems that students can solve in order to help them make sense of some concepts themselves, rather than walking them through it in advance.

Maths investigations are a great example of this.

Finding the sum of n numbers. What's the general rule? Finding the sum of n numbers. What’s the general rule?

It would be possible to simply tell students that the sum of a…

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