# Given the Answer, Write the Question

```G.I.F.T.S
Cathy Anderson
[email protected]
Given the Answer, Write the Question
Time Required: 10 – 15 minutes
When: This is something I do after I have introduced a topic, given several examples,
and still have 10 – 15 minutes left in the class period.
Purpose: This exercise is a great critical thinking exercise. It also helps students to be
aware of instructions since they have to write instructions.
Procedure: I give the students a list of criteria (including an answer) and ask them to
write a question that satisfies the criteria and has the specified answer.
I write the criteria on the board and give the students about one minute (more depending
on the complexity of the criteria) to write a question satisfying the criteria. The question
must include written instructions. After the minute is over, I have students exchange
questions with a partner and the partner checks that the question meets the criteria. This
gives students some confidence that they have written a question that works. Then I ask
three to five students to write their questions including the instructions on the board.
After all the questions are on the board we go through them one at a time and check that
the criteria is met and that the instructions are adequate.
Example 1 After I have covered addition of signed numbers, I might ask students to
make up an example that fits the following criteria:
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The final answer must be 3
The only operation can be addition
None of the numbers can be zero
No two or more of the numbers can have the same absolute value
A student might write:
Perform the addition: 3   2  5  4   7   _____
Example 2 After I have covered order of operations, I might ask students to make up an
example that fits the following criteria:
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The final answer must be 2
There must be four operations including one exponent, one multiplication, one