# Research on Mathematics Problem Posing for Students, Teachers and Parents: A Personal Journey

## Full text

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### Journey

Shuk-kwan S. Leung law@mail.nsysu.edu.tw

National Sun Yat-sen University

Department of Mathematics and Information Technology Online Departmental Seminar Dec 15 2021, The Education University of

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### Thank you

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School Teacher, Teacher Educator, Parent

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### Shanghai

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My selected work as a response to

“manifestations of MPP” by Silver (2013) and

“teaching and learning through MPP” by English (2020).

Sharing results of analyses to data from Taiwan, Hong Kong and US. This research agenda grew over time with participants that were initially students, adding in teachers and finally parents.

Methodological choices I included: variables, construct and intervention (Cai & Hwang, 2020).

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## Introduction

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Polya (1945) Math in the making

Freudenthal (1973) Math as a human activity

Brown & Walter (1983) What-if-not

Kilpatrick (1987) MPP as goal and as means

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### MPP still needs attention

MPP refers to different activities and its multi-facet nature draws attention to researchers and practitioners internationally (Silver, 1994; Silver, 2013, Singer, Ellerton, Cai, 2015, English, 2020).

However, it still need attention for learning, teaching and parenting.

Implementation (Ask what happen, which strategies can meet challenges, and why document designated outcomes) aims to empower involving participants for growth.

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### Growth in knowledge

To constitute growth in knowledge one must be curious.

When curious raises questions (pose) and finds answers (solve).

This cycle goes on and on

Pose and answer questions in or

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### Problem Posing(擬題)

Today, the first (擬題) is my major focus

MPP means the formation of a mathematics problem which invites a solution from an intended problem solver who cares to solve it

By WHOM and FOR WHAT PURPOSE Silver, 2013,ESM Special Issue

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### Problem Posing and Solving

Posing (擬題) is important, related to (yet different from) problem solving (Leung, 2009)

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## Students’ Learning

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Myself (and team) covered different independent variables and dependent variables (Kilpatrick, 1978).

Dependent variable: products vs processes;

attitude, beliefs, creativity…etc.

### Variables in research

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Posing a story vs posing math structure to match a text.

Content Specific vs Free Posing

Content: Number, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics

Posing a goal led to completion of posing with several givens (see Leung, 2013, 6 types)

In fact, one cannot tell what problem posing is until

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Reitman (1965) Silver (1994) Stoyanova &

Ellerton (1996) Leung (2013) Given defined Goal defined

(R1)

Reformulate known

problems (S1) Structured (SE1) 1. Known Problem Given defined Goal

undefined (R2) Formulate new

Problems (S2) Semi-structured (SE2)

2. Algorithm 3. Text 4. Figure/Table

5. Math Topic Given undefined Goal

defined (R3)

Formulate new Problems

(S2)

Semi-structured

Goal undefined (R4)

Formulate new Problems

(S2) Free (SE3) WHY NOT

FREE ?

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### My first piece, Leung, 1993

Task (X1): Test of Arithmetic Problem Posing (TAPP Version A: with numerical information content NIC, Version B: without NIC). Pose as many problems as you can from a description given in a text.

Subject (X2): Math Knowledge H/L

Subject (X3): Creative Thinking H/L

Posing Performance (Y): TAPP scores as

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Leung & Silver (1997)

1.TAPP effectively evaluated arithmetic problem posing

2-1. Problem-posing performance was significantly better when task contained NIC

2-2. Problem-posing performance significantly related to math knowledge

2-3. Problem-posing performance NOT significantly related to creative thinking.

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### Leung (1994)

MPP Process: a sequence of problems

After solving, subject used goal to prior posed problem as a given to pose more problem(s).

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A replication: extended TAPP to TGPP

Addresse relationships between creative thinking and problem posing and problem-posing tasks in mathematics domains.

Fluency is general in verbal creativity problem posing flexibility is specific in problem posing.

A general, rather than specific, problem posing competence exists in children and can be measured by the test TGPP.

### Leung 1997, ZDM

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“ What problems should I pose? ”

“ Can you give me examples? ”

“ Is her posed problem better than mine? ”

“ Who is going to solve it? “

“ What if I myself cannot find the answer? “

“ How difficuit? ”

Strategies Needed: how to teach MPP?

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### Reflections on failure

When children did not perform well, teach them MPP (Leung, 2009) and show how to perform well.

We did content specific MPP research and concluded that children CAN performed well only with conditions.

Provide a variety of rich MPP tasks to children

Discuss children’s intended or unexpected outcomes

TRY: teach MPP myself, a math teacher education (MTE)

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### Attempt of a MTE

An action researcher who works with teachers;

teach teachers in ways she proposes them to teach (e.g. Math Problem Posing, MPP)

2001 Hong Kong 5 5x=40 PDGE primary 2009 Kaohsiung 7 Simultaneous Equations In-service middle 2014 Hualin 10 Sine Rule In-service high

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5x=40

### 5X=40

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Research on students’ learning MPP.

MTE try first

Children get used to it gradually

Use multiple tasks to stimulate children

Intended vs unxepected outcomes

Not to be frustrated, work with teachers

### What I learn …

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Leung, S. S. (1997). On the Role of Creative Thinking in Problem Posing. ZDM

Leung S. K., & Silver, E. A.

(1997). The Role of Task Format, Mathematics Knowledge, and Creative Thinking. MERJ

Silver, E. A., Mamona-Downs, J., Leung. S. S., & Kenny, P.A.

(1996). Posing mathematical problems in a complex task environment JRME

 梁淑坤（1994）。「擬題」的研 究及其在課程的角色。國民小學

 梁淑坤（1999）。從擬題研究提 出數學教學建議。新典範數學。

1. STUDENTS’ LEARNING

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### Teachers’ Growth

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Problem posing is explicitly mentioned in the part concerning getting students to do inquiry. (Ministry of Education, Taiwan R.O.C., 2008).

Problem posing can be found in the curriculum guidebook for mathematics. (MOE of Taiwan, 2014)

(108 數學領域課程手冊)

### Curriculum Standards revisited

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Why content-wise?

Addition and Subtraction; Multiplication and Division;

Fractions, Decimals

Ratio and Rate, Probability and other topics. (For details, see http)

No need to ask for extra instructional time.

Teacher understood children’s learning when

### Inservice Teachers

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Research on Tasks and on Children’s work

By strands, by grade, and in six type of posing (unstated goal, Leung 2013)

Showed teachers how to deal with the 5 categories of children’s work (Leung 1997).

Used them in teaching.

All posed problems are useful.

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### If I introduce MPP

A new teaching idea to school teachers…

I must teach MPP myself

Leung & Wu (1999): Two real classroom examples.

FIX the ill-posed problems as that it can be solved

Ratio: Wu as teacher

Geometry: Leung as teacher

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### Leung & Wu (1999):

Real classroom examples.

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### Would you try it (ever)?

If you introduce a new book to student…

If you introducing a new car to your customer…

If you feed a baby new food…

Do not introduce unless you try and find it great

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Conducted study on MPP during student teaching, received grant (from NCS student research grants, See Leung 2011)

A course on MPS and MPP (18 weeks, selective)

Assignments on analyzing children’s posed problems to the 52 MPP tasks (mid-term, Teaching Methods).

### Preservice Teachers

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Teacher

Educator Shared Teachers Knowledge

### Be Active: Work with Teachers

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Leung (2013) Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Level One: Teachers assist in developing task by data collection. [Helpers; I only].

Level Two: Teachers decide on when to use which tasks, use coding scheme then suggest how to revise task and coding. They also suggest ways to use children’s work in teaching. [Junior partners; II, III only].

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### Year 1Year 2Year 3

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Tasks in six types (Leung, 2013)

an algorithm,

text,

a figure/table,

a math topic,

or a math problem.

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Tasks in six types (Leung, 2013)

an algorithm,

text,

a figure/table,

a math topic,

or a math problem.

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Three sessions were conducted on

the first three Wednesdays of the term with 20

1. They did problem posing themselves.

2. They analyzed posed problems.

### Pose and Analyze workshops

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They experienced MPP in pairs as children while I was their “elementary school teacher”.

These “elementary school children” posed problems, and when they asked questions I showed how to answer these questions.

Frequently asked questions were recorded to compare with questions asked by children during the implementation period.

### Did MPP themselves

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The temperature of the cup of tea is 50℃. NOT-A- PROBLEM

Is there soup or tea in this cup? NON-MATH

The temperature of the cup is 45℃; the volume is 450 cc., how many altogether? IMPLAUSIBLE

The temperature of the cup of tea is 50℃, it is cooled down in 2 hours, what is the final temperature? INSUFFICIENT

If the cup of tea is 49℃ and heated to 5 degrees

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### Teachers’ questionnaires (TQ)

What type of tasks will teachers consider in MPP?

What types of problems are posed by children? Can teachers categorize them?

What are the successes and difficulties of teachers during implementation?

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After half a year…..

I consider why and how teachers enact research- based tasks,

how teachers use the coding scheme to analyze children’s posed problems,

and the techniques, challenges and strategies they employed in enacting MPP.

### What I learned

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I did not give an example but said, “No, no. Try

to think it over. If I give you an example, you will pose a problem similar to my example!”

During the categorization exercise, the teachers were amazed to see real examples of children’s problems in the five different categories.

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MTE shared knowledge on the coding method.

Teachers asked me to clarify the distinction between the Not a Problem and Non Math categories as well as the distinction between Impossible and Insufficient.

### Analyze children’s work

Teachers’ sheared strategies on coding children’s work. “Hard to tell which is insufficient and which is implausible…so… I put them into 2

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Name names: who did try problem posing in teaching, and research on tasks development and enactment. Newsletter by month.

Building on the findings of this study, 3 teachers from this 60 did action research (Leung 2016) conditions that allow students to perform well on MPP.

### teachers

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15 graduate thesis: Content wise counting

＋－×÷ graduate decimals Ratio / proportion Equations probability

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### What I learn: a never ending cycle…

53

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Leung, S. S. (1997). On the Role of Creative Thinking in Problem Posing. ZDM

Leung S. K., & Silver, E. A.

(1997). The Role of Task Format, Mathematics Knowledge, and Creative Thinking. MERJ

Silver, E. A., Mamona-Downs, J., Leung. S. S., & Kenny, P.A.

(1996). Posing mathematical problems in a complex task environment JRME

 梁淑坤（1994）。「擬題」的研 究及其在課程的角色。國民小學

 梁淑坤（1999）。從擬題研究提 出數學教學建議。新典範數學。

Leung, S. K. (1996). Problem posing as assessment. The Mathematics Educator

Leung, S. S. (2013) 。 Teachers implementing mathematical problem posing in the classroom:

challenges and strategies. ESM.

Leung, S. S. (2016). Mathematical problem posing: A case of elementary school teachers developing tasks and designing instructions in Taiwan. Springer.

Leung, S. S., & Wu, R. (1999).

Posing problems: Two classroom examples. MTMG NCTM.

 梁淑坤（1996）。從佈題探討數 學科教科書的評鑑。教師之友。

1. STUDENTS’ LEARNING 2. TEACHERS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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## Parental Involvement

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### Why Parents’

Posing at home through diary writing (Leung & Wu, 2000)

Practical, connect to daily life

Make math learning continuous

Promote teacher-child-parent relationship

I teach in my sons’ classes (1-6)

I conducted parents workshops (K-6) over time

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Parenting,

Communicating,

Volunteering,

Learning at home,

Decision making,

Collaborating with community.

MPP attends to communicating and learning at home.

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### Leung & Kuo (2011)

Grade 4, MPP at home and in school

What are the changes in children’s mathematics problem posing after in-class instructions in mathematical problem posing?

What are the changes in children’s mathematics attitudes after in-class instructions in mathematical problem posing?

What are the changes in interaction of parent and child

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### Data Collection

Problem posing instruction materials

parent-child posing sheet

mathematics attitude measure

students interview

parents interview

teachers’ journal

video tapes

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### Parents’ views on problem posing

They expressed that normally they read quickly and signed children’s record book.

They discussed more with their children and became to understand children’s thoughts.

A long time since I was in elementary school and there are new ways to do math now.

I learn more on how to supervise the homework after this problem posing exercise.

I begin to realize the changes in curriculum and from now I know better what how to explain to my child and trap the thinking…

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### Children’s views on posing 1/2

Three of them normally did homework with mothers, one with father, one with elder sister and the last one with grand parent.

“I do homework by myself at home”

After introducing problem posing at home:

“ We spend more time doing homework together, at least 10

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### Leung & Kuo (2011)

MPP of children improved over time.(PP, attitude)

MPP at home increased interactions of family members.

MPP at home increased parents’ awareness of child’s learning in school

Problem posing in-class and at home can enhance interactions of parents, children and teacher.

Views from parents and children are positive towards problem posing instruction and problem posing at home.

Feasible to use PP, (student-centered)

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Parental involvement assisted young children to perform MPP that extended the activity from school to home, using strategies like reading picture books or diary writing (Leung, 2019).

Long term project in an-elementary school with walking distance from my school.

Bi-weekly family math camp

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### Data Collection

Data were collected longitudinally and analyzed using mixed methods (Creswell, 2009).

Multiple sources: parents’ focus group interviews and questionnaire, videos/photographs, family diaries/worksheets, and teacher educator’s journals.

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### Parental involvement: K1

K1: Lengths

Parent and child used items at home and posed a problem for family members to solve by comparing lengths.

Outcome 1: “ Who is taller? ”

Use eyesight: Elder sister is taller than younger sister

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### Parental involvement: K1

Outcome 2: Which is longer?

Direct comparison: Length of notebook longer than pen

Outcome 3: Which is longer?

Overlapping: Napkin box is longer than lunch bag

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### Parental involvement: K2

K2 Combine 2 numbers

Folding a toy. Inside the toys please write numbers you like and draw in corresponding “o”s accordingly.

Pose a problem

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### Parental involvement 1: K2

Chatterbox Surprise

What is written inside? “2、8

、3、7、6、4、1、5”

Pose problems

Numbers: 1 and 5 make 6

Unexpected:

Color: Red and white: Pink

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Geometric sticks Monopoly

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Posing problems for a math trial

Parents as Teachers: They made up problems for children to solve.

Teacher educator took photographs for parents to consider.

Parents (in pairs) made up problems for peer to review and revise.

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Map with 10 checkpoints

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School Entrance

1.

Find the perimeter of the red circular bench

How many sides are there on the surface of this stool?

If you put this into a box find the size of this box

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### More Examples

6.

Watch the figure on the ground

How many right angles can you find?

(1) How many squares?

(2) How many rectangles?

(3) How many triangles?

8.

Name the shape.

Try to work with your parent the area of this figure. You can use any units you like.

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### Walking with parents

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We wash cups of rice but we have guests today and need 2 times as usual. How many cups shall we need today?

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Tangrams

Please use 7 pieces given in Tangrams to make the gun below.

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### What I learn from parents

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Leung, S. S. (1997). On the Role of Creative Thinking in Problem Posing.

ZDM

Leung S. K., & Silver, E. A. (1997). The Role of Task Format, Mathematics Knowledge, and Creative Thinking. MERJ

Silver, E. A., Mamona-Downs, J., Leung.

S. S., & Kenny, P.A. (1996). Posing mathematical problems in a complex task environment JRME

 梁淑坤（1994）。「擬題」的研究及其 在課程的角色。國民小學數學科新課程 概說-低年級臺灣省國民學校教師研習會 編。

 梁淑坤（1999）。從擬題研究提出數學 教學建議。新典範數學。

Leung, S. K. (1996). Problem posing as assessment. The Mathematics Educator

Leung, S. S. (2013)。Teachers implementing mathematical problem posing in the classroom: challenges and strategies. ESM.

Leung, S. S. (2016). Mathematical problem posing: A case of elementary school teachers developing tasks and designing instructions in Taiwan. Springer.

Leung, S. S., & Wu, R. (1999). Posing problems: Two classroom examples. MTMG NCTM.

 梁淑坤（1996）。從佈題探討數學科教科

Leung, S. S., & Wu, R. (2000). Sharing Problem Posing at Home Through Diary Writing: Case of Grade One. AMPC, Australia

Leung, S. S.; Kuo, H. C. (2011). Sharing some results on mathematical problem posing involving children and parents.

Chiayi.

 梁淑坤（ 2008）。教學錦囊01‧逃吧！數

 梁淑坤（2015）。晚餐後，幸福的數學時

。前程出版社。

 梁淑坤（2019）。嗨！我是好玩的數學遊

1. STUDENTS’ LEARNING 2. TEACHERS’ PROFESSIONAL

DEVELOPMENT 3. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT

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## Conclusion

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### The investigator is an action researcher herself

Found that children and prospective teachers were inexperienced in problem posing.

Offered a two-credit course for prospective teachers.

One student received award funding from the National Science Council (Leung, 2001).

Teacher-training workshops for in-service teachers.

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In working towards a framework on MPP, the contents of this lecture will add to existing literature.

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### Journey

Shuk-kwan S. Leung law@mail.nsysu.edu.tw

National Sun Yat-sen University

Updating...

## References

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