Problematized situations allow students to learn through problem solving rather than for problem solving. What this means is that students can:

  • think about the maths they do know,
  • the representations that they have used or seen before,
  • invent, explore and create possible solution strategies.

As students work on the problematized situations, teachers can gather informative assessment data that is then used to plan focused and intentional reflections and strategy lessons. During problematized situations, the focus is on the mathematical thinking that is used rather than on right answers. As students grapple with a problem, teachers can observe:

  • how students enter into the problem,
  • what maths they choose to use,
  • misconceptions and common error patterns,
  • strengths and nudge points.

Student interviews can be carried out, annotations of work samples can be made and feedback can be given. From close observations, teachers can make informed decisions about what next.