A better question might be, “state your answer as a complete sentence.”

I originally published this on Better Q’s. More research is being published on placing things in context. There are lots of ways to make content “relevant.” The challenge outlined here is to reconnect the answer to the question….


Cartoon, context according to Stephen KingI caught myself doing something terrible! Ok, not terrible, just really wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but it is very common: I worked a problem out on the board and left the answer, 20, out there. All. By. Itself.

No context, no units, no connection to anything. It was just there. My co-teacher jumps in, “Is this the right answer?” The class chimes in with a chorus of yesses, but I knew it was wrong. I looked into each smiling face, one after the other, waiting for someone to notice what was missing. One of them came through for me! “It’s hours, it’s gotta say hours!”

My mistake is one we math teachers make all the time – we get the answer, the right number, and we stop there. And move on to the next problem. But, you say, there is no context, it’s just a practice problem.

Skill drill and…

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