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Abstract of the Working Seminar (13-15 years old)

Problem posing – tasks and challenges
Zoltán Kovács,

University of Nyíregyháza and
University of Debrecen


Polya suggested in his famous book (How to solve it, 1945) that `The mathematical experience of the student is incomplete if he never had an opportunity to solve a problem invented by himself. The teacher may show the derivation of new problems from one just solved, and doing so, provoke the curiosity of the students’.
In the team we focus on the role of problem posing in mathematics education, and several aspects and perspectives of problem posing are presented in the literature.

Problem posing is a feature of inquiry-oriented instruction.
Problem posing is a prominent feature of mathematical activity.
Problem posing is a means to improve students’ problem solving skills.
Problem posing gives an insight into students’ mathematical understanding.
Problem posing improves students’ attitudes toward mathematics.

(Silver, E. A. On mathematical problem posing. For the Learning of Mathematics, 19-28, 1994.)

Each day of the seminar we are going to work out a problem variation chain deriving from an initial problem. The first part of the seminar models the classroom situation, while in the second part we are going to discuss the methods applied. Participants are to discuss how the group leader copes with the open nature of problem posing episodes. We are going to summarize the challenges the teacher may face during problem posing activities. The working seminar is to provide hands-on experience with tasks from various mathematical domains.

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