December 5, 2023

Thoughtful Thursday: Conundrums

During distance learning Astra school created a series of one to two minute Conundrum videos that describe a scenario and presents different choices that could be made as a result. There is no correct answer, just a variety of options. Students are then asked to make a choice and explain their reasoning in writing. Once all students’ answers are submitted a rich classroom discussion can follow. If done right this is a rich low floor high ceiling with a high depth of knowledge.


Mathematical Practices

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them: 
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Look for and make use of structure

21st Century Skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Judgement and Complex Decision Making


  1. Show the selected video (Hint: especially for the first few, tell students that it will only last 60 seconds so don’t blink!!!)
  2. Instruct students to open the appropriate google form and fill out every question. Make sure to remind them that they must write TWO sentences explaining their reasons.
  3. While students are writing their responses I create a google sheet and sort it by period so that I can prompt and encourage. 
  4. Once they are done (no more than 5 min) I’ll quickly lead a whole class discussion by calling on a couple of students to state their choice and then explain their why. No matter what their response I find something positive to say about their reasoning.
  5. THE ART OF TEACHING: There are a ton of ways to facilitate these discussions but the key is to encourage and celebrate different choices and reasons. Sometimes I’ll explore their reasoning by asking clarifying questions and at others I might ask what other information might reinforce their decision or change it.