The internet has failed me.
In spite of following 150 creative math teachers on Twitter and subscribing to 750 creative math teacher blogs (including one blog that’s dedicated exclusively to creative math), I’m only now learning about Gordon Hamilton’s Unsolved K-12 Project. It’s creative. It’s math. It’s almost three years old!
Better late than never.
See, Hamilton convened a bunch of creative math types in Banff in November 2013 to a) select unsolved math problems and b) adapt them for use at every grade in K-12. Not a simple task, and I’m enormously impressed by their results. You can watch videos introducing the problems at this page or read about them in these slides.
Here are two of my favorites. (Click for larger.)
Grade 3: Graceful Tree Conjecture
Grade 10: Imbedded Square
These two problems have the capacity to develop fluency just as well as any worksheet or worksite. In working out their solutions, students will perform the same operation dozens of times — subtracting whole numbers in the third grade task and calculating slope and distance in the Cartesian plane in the tenth grade task. But these problems ask students to think strategically and systematically in addition to practicing efficiently and accurately. That’s no easy feat, but Hamilton and his team pulled it off thirteen times in a row.