Math Imposter Sets (with Video and PDF)

Over 15 years ago, I began using Imposter Sets in my math classroom.  Imposter Sets frequently produce rich, insightful discussion about important math concepts.  Students readily embrace the mystery of Imposter Sets.  Classroom discussions are frequently characterized by investigation, exploration, and wonder.  Those are powerful responses to a strategy that is actually very simple to use.


Recently I was asked to share more about Imposter Sets.  What are they?  How can they be used in the classroom?


You’ll find several resources below.  I just recorded a video explaining Imposter Sets, and there is also a PDF ready for you to download.  I hope your classroom will be filled with a sense of investigation and wonder.


Imposter Pic


Click Here to Download Sample Imposter Sets PDF


Enjoy the video!

Using Imposter Sets in the Classroom


If you would like to learn about more animated math instructional strategies, you’ll find additional posts listed on the left, including the “I’m on a Learning Mission” all-time most popular post The Animated Multiplication Table.

Steve Wyborney Avatar

10 responses to “Math Imposter Sets (with Video and PDF)”

  1. ak gupta Avatar

    awesome sharing sir. i am sharing this post with my best math teacher.
    keep writing awesome article with us.

  2. Jane Avatar

    This is very similar to the Which One Doesn’t Belong (WODB) idea. I have had great success with this in my Gr2 classroom. Thanks!

    1. Avatar

      Thank you, Jane! Yes, WODB is a great resource!

  3. Aaron Brecek Avatar
    Aaron Brecek

    I just found this while searching ideas for Number Talks and absolutely love it. This idea/concept of Imposter Sets can be used at any level just by changing to 4 items to graphs, equations, shapes, etc.

    Thanks for publishing this, I plan on using this in our next Math Institute.

    1. Avatar

      Hi, Aaron. I’m really glad that you are taking this and using it with your students. You are absolutely correct that this can be used at any level. Take a look at and click on the graphs tab at the very top. WODB has done some excellent work with a very similar concept and I think you could do amazing things with the images found there. If you look really carefully you’ll see some subtle differences in the approaches but I think the nuances really inform the strategies nicely.

  4. chăm sóc trẻ thơ Avatar

    I will right away take hold of your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter
    service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me understand so that I may subscribe.


    1. Avatar

      Thank you for the question. You can subscribe to the blog via email subscription in the top right corner of the blog. I believe it’s more visible on a computer than on a mobile device. Thanks for reading the blog!

  5. Travis Avatar

    Thanks for the video.
    If playing Imposter Sets becomes to declarative and you want to go the interrogative route…
    For students having trouble and needing to level up…the teacher or student can assist with…
    Uni-Q [as opposed to Imposter Set]
    What one question can you ask that will cue the listener into the uniqueness?

  6. Graham Avatar

    Forget the nugget…thanks for throwing us the whole gold bar Steve! I’ll definitely be sharing this with teachers and letting them know where they can find more of the good stuff! Cheers!

    1. Avatar

      Graham, I’m glad you like it. Thanks for sharing. There is much more to come…

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