Are you constantly on students to show their work in math class (or other subjects), but to no avail? If so, give them the answers up front—for class work, homework, even a test or two. Really, what better way to stress the problem-solving process than to limit an assignment to that process?! Do this, and you’ll really be messing with kids at first—especially if, like many of my students, they seem to care more about getting work done than getting it done right. What are these students to do when the directions for an assignment are, “Show why the given answer is correct,” and they can’t get the assignment done without getting it done right?
Talk about motivating kids to show their work—I never saw students more resourceful than they were on assignments where I provided the answers. But that’s not all. The process of working backward from the answer also improves students’ grasp and retention of the material. So even when your students do show their work on traditional (i.e., answers withheld) assignments, you’ll still want to mix in from time to time assignments where you include the answers.