Maths Without Limits
Opening Young Minds to Endless Possibilities
Using Questions to Stimulate Thinking

Traditionally, learning intentions have been framed either as:

  • ‘To’ statements –  ‘To use a place value chart to divide by 100’ 
  • I can’ statements – ‘I can use a place value chart to divide by 100’ or 
  • simple statements – ‘Use a place value chart to divide by 100’. 

Recently the idea of framing them as questions has been explored:

  • How can we use a place value chart to divide by 100?’

This immediately opens up a discussion, which can both reveal a child’s current understanding and engage them in exploring a new idea.

What would happen if we extended this question-based approach to the detail of exploring a mathematical idea and not just the learning intention?

The slide-show activities, in particular, on the Maths Without Limits website give examples of how this idea can be used in practice.  Here are some to get you thinking.

Fractions on a metre stick
Fractions on a metre stick

This extended exploration makes use of a variety of different visualisations to help develop the understanding of equivalences between fractions, decimals and percentages. We start with the metre...

Multiples and Digit Wheels
Multiples and Digit Wheels

This is a lovely activity which is very simple to do, and is great for showing that Maths is full of patterns.  The patterns in the numbers then generate satisfying visual patterns. Important Note:...

Coordinates, Points and Lines
Coordinates, Points and Lines

This activity is designed to develop children’s vocabulary and understanding of coordinates by exploring what happens when different groups of points with patterns in their coordinates are plotted...