26 March 2021: Seminar by Dr Sergiy Klymchuk, Department of Mathematical Sciences, AUT

Date/Time/room: Friday 26th March 10-11am in WT121, level 1, AUT Tower, 2-14 Wakefield St.

Speaker: Dr Sergiy Klymchuk

Title: A new type of question for teaching and assessing critical thinking in mathematics


Fake news, conspiracy theories, information wars and deep fakes are getting more common in our society. Therefore, abilities to recognise mistakes and think critically are very important nowadays. To enhance students' critical thinking skills it is proposed to include so-called provocative or ‘impossible’ questions in teaching and assessment in mathematics. Such questions look like typical routine questions but in fact that have a catch – they are deliberately designed to mislead the solver. The intention is to prepare students for real life better. As a pedagogical strategy, provocative mathematics questions demonstrate the importance of being alert and ready to analyse, and challenge, everything. They enhance a habit of questioning the question and not to take anything for granted which is an essential part of inquiry-based learning and a mathematical way of thinking. The suggested pedagogical strategy can also be used in other subjects and at secondary and tertiary level. This talk presents results of two studies on school mathematics teachers’ attitudes towards using provocative mathematics questions in teaching and assessment as a potential pedagogical innovation. Practical recommendations for teaching practice with many examples are also discussed.


Dr Sergiy Klymchuk is an Associate Professor of mathematics and Founding Director of STEM Tertiary Education Centre at AUT. His current research interests are in mathematics education. He authored or co-authored 250+ publications including an international award winning book Counterexamples in Calculus and several books on popular mathematics.

Link to slides