# Math Exercise, Problem, and Investigation

As teachers, it is important that we vary the mathematical activities we give our students. The learning that takes place in the classroom is, in one way or another, affected by the kind of tasks that we give them. These tasks may be classified into three: exercises, problems, and investigations.

Math Exercise

A math exercise is a task where students know what is asked AND know a direct way of doing it. Task 1 is an example of a math exercise.  In this task, students are asked for the number of squares that make up the fourth figure. This can easily do this by looking at the pattern or by counting.

Math exercises are usually given after examples were demonstrated. They are commonly used to enhance the basic computational skills of students.

Math Problem

A math problem is a task where students know what is asked, BUT do not know a direct way of doing it.  Task 2 is an example of a math problem. The task is for the students  to find the number of squares in Figure 100. In this case, there is no direct way of solving it. Although they can draw the 100th figure by continuing the pattern and then counting the number of squares in that figure, it would take them a long time to do it.