Work through the task and anticipate student responses

Each member of the planning team should work through the task using a variety of different approaches.
  • What different representations can you use? (Physical? Diagrammatic? Symbolic?)
  • Can you use techniques within the reach of your students?
  • Can you use more sophisticated methods?
  • Is there a really elegant approach?

Now approach the task from the students' point of view:
  • How will my students respond to the task?
  • What variety of approaches do I expect?
  • What difficulties will they encounter?
  • How will I recognise that students are making progress during the lesson?

It is often helpful to give the task to the students a few lessons in advance of the research lesson. ASk them to have an initial attempt at it, individually, then collect in their ideas and categorise their different approaches. Also it is helpful to prepare some questions that will move their thinking forward. Anticipating students’ responses in detail, listing them, and planning questions for the teacher to ask or actions to take, will elevate the lesson plan beyond what teachers normally have time to do. That is why it is usual to do only a few research lessons per year.

Below we illustrate a Key Issues Table that has been constructed for one problem, "The X Factor". We also provide a blank key issues table for you to use for your task.
Work through the problem yourself and see if you agree with the issues that have been predicted in this table.