Which One Doesn’t Belong?

(If wodb.ca brought you here, check out this post.)

As part of an upcoming “TNIFHS” post, I wanted to include one example of what Christopher Danielson’s approach to a better shapes book might look like in a high school math class. [Update: Christopher’s Which One Doesn’t Belong? is available from Stenhouse; from Pembroke for Canadians.] But then I had some fun with this and created a few more. In each set, a reason can be given for each of the four options being the odd one out. I’ve done this type of thing with numbers and equations before. Worthwhile, but not what I’m going for here. Each set below is pictorial. Also, I went naked; I stripped the graphs of grid lines and ordered pairs. More noticing properties, less determining equations. Aside from graphs, where else in secondary mathematics might this fit? The last two images below are my attempts at answering this question.

Download the pdf.









Update: Mary Bourassa created a website.

Update (10/04/17):

Related: Alike & Different: Which One Doesn’t Belong? & More

Recommended: Simon Gregg’s WODB? album

20 Replies to “Which One Doesn’t Belong?”

  1. Wow. This is great. We are totally going to use these with our teachers. Should be some interesting conversations. The one initial concern I have is that some of these don’t neatly fit into a single course under Common Core (obviously not your concern). For example it would be interesting to have four lines where some have common slopes, common y-intercepts, common x-intercepts, etc.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Robert. Let me know how it goes. I did consider the single course thing. For example, linear and quadratic inequalities both appear in Math 11 here. But previously, linear inequalities were introduced in Math 10, quadratic inequalities in Math 11. Too lazy to look it up, I wondered if this was true in CCSSM (or, single course or not, whether it was more worthwhile to compare nothing but linear inequalities). So, I included an alternate version of this one in the pdf; I replaced y > (x – 2)^2 – 1 with x > 2. Is the absolute value function in the first set another concern? I tried your slope and x- and y-intercept idea but end up painting myself into a corner with the one distinguishing property restriction. A more forgiving question here (from the writing side) is “Which two of these are most alike?” These are much easier to create (e.g., y = 2x + 3, y = 2x – 3, y = -2x + 3, y = -2x – 3).

    2. I consider WODB as a tool to work on the SMPs of reasoning, constructing arguments, and attend to precision. They are great as a formative assessment tool so that you can see what students pay attention to and the language that is used to describe.

  2. I love the purple algebra tile one. I will definitely be using it soon. Thinking about why top right doesn’t belong. These are quite creative.

    1. What are some things that you would want to discuss with #13? Positive/negative slope? Discrete/continuous? Linear/nonlinear? Thank you!

  3. I love this site! I wanted to see if you knew or have seen of any graphic organizers that people are using to help incorporate this in their class. Thanks!

    1. Hi Crystal. Thanks! I don’t know of any graphic organizers here. Can you tell me a bit more about what you’re looking for?

      Searching #wodb on Twitter will help with how teachers are using this routine in their classrooms. I have always done this as a whole class discussion. I project the set of images directly on the whiteboard and then record students reasons (maybe some turn-and-talk first) around the borders of each of the four images. In classrooms without projectors, I’ve printed them and glued/taped them on chart paper. Again, I record student reasons around the border (or have students place–and explain–sticky notes).

  4. I was just assigned a PD where your materials were listed. They are amazing and I greatly appreciate the free pdf. I know I can use these on my iPad as a exit ticket or coming into the classroom.
    Thank You

  5. I love this whole teacher move of asking kids to find the one that’s different when each choice may be different for different reasons! Yay us math teachers for creating open ended content!!
    But, I wish that the whole name could be changed. Consider these song lyrics from American singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco:
    “When i was four years old
    They tried to test my i.q.
    They showed me a picture
    Of 3 oranges and a pear
    They said,
    Which one is different?
    It does not belong
    They taught me different is wrong”

    Maybe a better name for this whole type of question posing could be:
    “Which One is Special?”
    “Which One is Unique?”

    What do you all think about that? Will the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement help math educators to up our game?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: