Differentiating Questions By Removing Information

While checking the work of a year 11 student on Friday I came across a question that could have been a great one for the higher GCSE students to practice their skills together and also their selection of which mathematics to use.

The question was to find the area of this triangle:

image

A great question. One that to you or I is straightforward but that would take GCSE level students and below a bit of thinking and let’s them hone their skills.

The way to tackle it is to use Pythagoras’s Theorem to form an equation, solve for x then find the area. I feel is beneficial as it combines Pythagoras’s Theorem with a decent amount of algebra then includes the find the area bit at the end.

image

In this case though, that wasn’t the question. There was more information on offer and the question was:

image

Which is still a fairly nice form and solve an equation problem.

3x + 1 + 3x + x – 1 = 56
7x = 56
x = 8
A = 0.5×7×24 = 84

There is a niceness to this question that goes beyond the question itself.  It shows us a great way of differentiating within lessons. Just be leaving out a tiny portion of the information, in this case the perimeter, we can make the question much harder. This idea is something I’ve been working on in various places. Mechanics questions can be made much easier by providing a diagram, for example.

Have you used questions in a similar way? If so I’d love to see them, please do get in touch.

Cross-posted to Cavmaths here.

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2 thoughts on “Differentiating Questions By Removing Information

  1. This is awesome! Such an easy strategy to implement that can be used across different math problems and even different subjects. Differentiation can sometimes be viewed as this big daunting concept, but this is an example of how simple differentiation it can be and still make a problem so much more meaningful for students at different levels of understanding.

    In reference to the title, I think this definitely works the other way around too, as adding given information to a problem can also differentiate questions for students who might need the extra boost.

    Liked by 1 person

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