I have now created a set of 25 maths rich tasks, which are all available (for free!) here. I have put these together from some of my favourite activities that I have used over the past 10 years of teaching.
For me, a rich task is one that both engages and challenges students with a wide level of mathematical ability. They need to be “low barrier, high ceiling”, by which I mean students need to have found success/made progress with the task within the first 30 seconds, but there is still enough meat left to keep them thinking 30 minutes (or even 3 lessons) later.
I feel activities like these are crucial for students’ mathematical development. They allow them to be creative, and work together in meaningful and positive ways. When developing our Scheme of Work (read my blog about it here), we decided to include a compulsory rich task for all students each topic unit, and many of those are part of this collection.
The key to a good rich task are the questions that accompany it. This is where effective differentiation happens. All students begin the task in exactly the same way, but once an initial stage has been reached, students (individual or in groups) are free to pursue different investigations, probing questions and lines of inquiry. These can be provided by the teacher, or even by the students themselves.
The strength of the rich task lies in these questions. So here is my plan: I am going to share as many of my favourite rich tasks as possible, and hopefully teachers from around the world are going to provide the questions. These can be lines of inquiry, investigations, prompts, hypotheses, extensions, simplifications, modifications, whatever you like. Crucially, you do not need to know the answer yourself. Just throw it out there! There will be space for these in the Comments section at the bottom of each TES Resource page, and I will always get the ball rolling with a few questions of my own.
Please join in. Please spread the word. Please just share even one question. And then the tasks will keep getting better, and better, and better.