Looney Math Consulting offers resources for math educators
in the form of word problems, book recommendations and helpful links.

January Resources – Have students pose their own problems!

“Mathematics is the art of explanation. If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity— to pose their own problems, make their own conjectures and discoveries, to be wrong, to be creatively frustrated, to have an inspiration, and to cobble together their own explanations and proofs— you deny them mathematics itself.” – Paul Lockhart

From: Mind/Shift Blog: Seeing Struggling Math Learners as ‘Sense Makers,’ Not ‘Mistake Makers’ 

Problem Solving

Early Childhood: Using sentence strips and pocket charts

Math Story Problem Pocket Charts

math pocket chart

Now create your own animal-hat math problem.

Upper Elementary

snowfalls amounts

Look at the table above. Add in a column to show the number of feet for each storm.

Write three questions. Solve your questions. Swap questions with a partner.

Middle School

Football fans, click for some  NFL Math Activities.


Featured Mathematics Blog: 

More on students creating their own math problems:

fraction math problem

“Involving students as creators of problems for others to solve provides an experience for them that’s different from the teacher always being the source of problems. Also, when students have opportunities to solve their classmates’ problems, I find that they invest in their learning in a different way, often with added interest. And a benefit to teachers is that reviewing the problems that students create is useful for assessing their progress.” 

Marilyn Burns


Mathematics Book Recommendation:

About This Book

Teaching isn’t merely transmitting knowledge to students; it’s also about teaching students to approach learning in engaging and unexpected ways.

In Sparking Student Creativity: Practical Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking and Problem Solving, author and researcher Patti Drapeau explores and explains research related to creativity and its relevance in today’s standards-based, critical thinking–focused classroom.

The book vividly and comprehensively shows

  • How creative lessons can meet and extend the expectations of curriculum standards such as the Common Core State Standards.
  • How to incorporate creativity and assessment into daily classroom practices.
  • How to develop a Creativity Road Map to guide instruction.
  • How to design lessons that prompt and support creative thinking.

In addition, the book includes 40 “grab and go” ideas that infuse lesson plans with a spirit of exploration.


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