Open Middle Worksheet

If you are frustrated that your students will try a math problem once or twice and then give up, this blog post is for you.  Let me (re)introduce you to one of my favorite tools for helping students persevere when problem solving: the Open Middle Worksheet.

To explain why many educators find it invaluable, I’ll need to tangent and briefly explain a central theme of one of my favorite books, Freakonomics.  Life is all about incentives.  There are positive incentives (I go to the gym because I want to stay healthy) and negative incentives (I don’t steal because I don’t want to go to jail).  Without these incentives (or if the incentives changed) what you do would change.