Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Create the Problem

K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


Cover Image

Create the Problem

This mathematics-focused instructional activity has students create a hypothetical problem that matches a given real-world solution.

Create the Problem


After being presented with a mathematical equation or solution, students create a problem that would require that equation or solution to solve, exercising their problem solving and critical thinking skills.


  1. Choose a mathematical equation or solution and present it to the participants.

  2. Participants create a problem that might have resulted in such a solution or required that particular equation to solve.

  3. Participants share their problems and justify why their example matches the original problem.

Keeley, P., & Tobey, C. (2011). #11. Create the problem. In Mathematics Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning (p. 80). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, SAGE.