Open Middle is a blog that offers unique math tasks for K-12 students. Dan Meyer, an educator who speaks about how “Math Class Needs a Makeover” in this TED Talk, describes “Open Middle” problems this way:
- “they have a “closed beginning” meaning that they all start with the same initial problem.
- they have a “closed end” meaning that they all end with the same answer.
- they have an “open middle” meaning that there are multiple ways to approach and ultimately solve the problem.”
Several educators contributed problems to the Open Middle site. You can search for challenges by grade level and by mathematical area (such as geometry). Below is an example, submitted by Ian Kerr, from the 5th grade group of fraction problems.
I would encourage you to take a look at the “Open Middle Worksheet” that you can download for students, as it gives students space for multiple attempts, and also asks students to verbalize what they learned from each attempt. This is an excellent way to reinforce that you can learn from mistakes, and the growth mindset attitude that you may not know how to do it yet.