Inquiry pedagogy

Inquiry in mathematics is an effective and engaging pedagogy.

Mathematical Inquiry is a pedagogy or way of teaching that involves students in authentic learning to find answers to inquiry questions posed. Inquiry is suitable for all year levels and is an engaging way to teach maths. Students need to think about the question, come up with a plan, either individually or in pairs or small groups, enact their plan and use some maths in the process, then justify and record their findings.

Examples of inquiries I have used in classrooms include:

  • What is the best way to get 155 students and 9 teachers to a school excursion?
  • Can you draw a line that is 10 metres long on one piece of A4 paper? Long line Yr 3
    (FREE download sample – including assessment criteria)
  • How many sheets of newspaper would we need to cover the floor of our classroom?
  • What does it actually cost to make a salad sandwich?

Inquiries can be tasks/investigations or inquiry can be a general pedagogy where questioning is used so students learn concepts themselves rather than being told by the teacher.


I am the author of Thinking Caps – a set of maths inquiries published by Origo Education/Thinking Caps.

Thinking Caps small