At Friday's workshop, many expressed dismay at the impatience of students who are unwilling to wrestle with mutli-step problems or pursue challenging questions for more than just a few minutes. Across our two workshops, we identified several features of the rainbow question that can possibly help avert this, including
- The question generates more questions. Because of this I can try to inoculate "answer-seeking" by celebrating the questions students bring up.
- There is no right answer. This mean I don't have to fake it or use my poker face. I really believe there are good arguments for why colors like white, brown, pink, are in the rainbow and good arguments for they are not in the rainbow. I can celebrate the good arguments on both sides and make that clear to students.
- Everybody has experiences with colors, so everybody has something to bring to the table. I feel like I can call on anyone to contribute without feeling like I'm calling them out or putting them on the spot. With such a problem I can celebrate everyday experience and intuition rather than science facts and terminology.
- The question is simply stated, but deceivingly complex. The more you talk about it, the more layers of its complexity emerge. As a teacher, this questions allows me to celebrate complexity.
- Physics Jeopardy Problems by Alan Van Heuvelen