Using High-level Tasks

by Ernie Milcher

“There is no decision that teachers make that has a greater impact on students’ opportunities to learn and on their perceptions about what mathematics is than the selection or creation of the tasks with which the teacher engages students in studying mathematics.” (Lappan and Briars, 1995)

The essence of good teaching involves getting students engaged in productive work. Using high-level tasks can engage students in a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Tasks form the basis for students to learn the nature of mathematics and how to engage in it.

Creating high-level tasks can be challenging. Teachers need to anticipate various solution strategies. They also need to consider what misconceptions their students might have and plan how to respond to questions that students might ask.

When students are provided an opportunity to work on a high-level task in a supportive environment, students can improve their reasoning and problem solving skills as well as increase their conceptual understanding in mathematics.

We invite you to share with us some of the ways you use high-level task in your classroom.

Rate This Post:

  • There are no comments currently available

Leave Comment

  • You must be logged in to comment.

Please use the comments for discussion and to contribute your reviews, perspective and thoughts. Your colleagues and other visitors will appreciate it! If you need help, please contact us. Requests for help will not be answered in comments.


  • Dennis Cullen
    Mathematics, Paraprofessionals, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS/RtII)
  • Tara Russo
    Mathematics, Paraprofessionals, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS/RtII)
  • Jonathan Regino
    Mathematics, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS/RtII)
  • Jared Campbell
    Autism, Mathematics, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS/RtII)
  • Elaine Neugebauer
    Mathematics, Family Engagement, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS/RtII)
View All Consultants »