Bryan Anderson and Joel Patterson simply subtracted elements from printed tasks, added them back in later, and watched their classrooms become more interesting places for students.
Anderson took a task from the Shell Centre and delayed all the calculation questions, making room for a lot of informal dialog first.
Patterson took a Discovering Geometry task and removed the part where the textbook specified that the solution space ran from zero to eight.
“It turns out that by shortening the question,” Joel Patterson said, “I opened the question up, and the kids surprised themselves and me!”
BTW. These are great task designers here. I spent the coldest winter of my life at the Shell Centre because I wanted to learn their craft. Discovering Geometry was written by friend-of-the-blog Michael Serra. This only demonstrates how unforgiving the print medium is to interesting math tasks, like asking Picasso to paint with a toilet plunger. You have to add everything at once.