Showing posts with label Dan Meyer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dan Meyer. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2013

Using Images as Research Prompts to Teach Google Search Strategies

Over the last month I've shown the picture that you see to the left during a number of presentations and workshops. I've used the picture to model using pictures to spark students' minds at the beginning of lessons on search strategies. This is a strategy that I've developed by borrowing ideas from Daniel Russell's Search ReSearch activities and Dan Meyer's strategy of using videos and pictures to prompt students to ask math questions.

When I show the picture to the left during my workshops (click it to enlarge it and feel to use it yourself) I simply ask people to share the questions that come to mind when they see it. Then I give people time to try to use various Google search strategies to find the answers to their questions. Sometimes people find the answers and other times they don't. It's okay if they don't find the answers because the point is to try a variety of search strategies.

Some of the questions that are frequently asked about the picture are:
Where was this picture taken?
How big is the truck?
How much fuel does the truck consume?
How big are the tires?

All four of the questions above can be answered by using various search strategies and tools. Using the "similar images search" in Google Images will help you answer these questions. Google Maps Street View will help you answer the questions too. And while not essential to answering the questions, refining your search to a specific top-level domain could help too.

Create your own image-based search lessons.
Besides taking your own pictures and putting them online, a good strategy is to use Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr. I recommend Flickr because many of the images are tagged with locations and some have captions that can give your students a few clues to work with.

For pre-made search lesson activities, take a look at the Google Search Education page

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Graphing Stories - The Math in Short Videos

Graphing Stories is a new website that was developed by Dan Meyer and Buzz Math. Graphing Stories features 24 short videos that tell a story that students can graph to tell the mathematical story happening in the video. I recommend reading this post by Dan Meyer to get a full sense of how this works and where the idea came from. All of the graphing stories videos can be downloaded to use in your classroom. Graphing Stories even provides the graph paper for your students to graph the stories.

To learn more about Dan Meyer's philosophy of math education, watch the video below.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Days of Learning With Dan Meyer

As I mentioned yesterday, this week I'm facilitating some workshops at the Maine School of Science and Math. Last night's keynote was delivered by Dan Meyer. I had watched Dan's TED Talk many times and have his blog in my RSS feed, but last night was the first time I got to see him speak in person. Today, I sat in on one of workshops. What follows is my slightly edited notes from two days of learning with Dan Meyer. Please keep in mind that I'm not a mathematics teacher so my perspective is probably different than that of most of the audience which was almost entirely composed of math and science teachers.

Notes from the keynote (my thoughts in italics):

Kids have limited patience for new things. Choose wisely.
What's your rationale for selection?
My rationale is to ask myself if it will help students learn? 

Capture, share, and resolve peplexity.
Create perplexity not entertainment or engagement. In other words show students perplexing "problems."

Let's not pour ranch lets make better broccoli. 
This was a reference to Khan academy being ranch dressing and broccoli being old rote mathematics problems. Pose better questions, don't try to fancy-up boring questions. 

Dan's digital handouts for the week. 

Use Google Voice to record audio notes to yourself when you come across a perplexing problem/situation to share with students. 

Move from engaging questions to perplexing questions. 

Crowd-sourcing perplexing questions. Dan shared how he uses Twitter to post images and videos that he finds perplexing. Gather feedback from folks on Twitter as to the first questions that come to their minds when they see the video or image. 

Neat graph of water consumption in Edmonton during gold medal game of 2010 Olympics.
Google this and see if you can find the pattern. 

Wolfram Alpha forces us to change the mathematics questions we ask. 

Notes as a non-math teacher sitting in on a math instruction workshop. 
In other words, I was the student who "doesn't get math" in the group. 

Dan modeled what he talked about in his keynote. 

Showed a short time-lapse video that raised some perplexing questions from the class. 

Had everyone write down the first question that came to mind. 

Collect and posted the questions then had students vote on which ones they also like. Question with the most votes was the first the class tried to tackle. 

The class was tasked with finding out how many pennies were in the pyramid in the video

Before tackling the problem everyone had to write down their estimates as well as their "impossibly high" and "impossibly low" estimates. During debrief we learned that this is done so that students like me who "don't get math" and like to guess can satisfy the need for a gut-level reaction. 

On a personal note, as someone who was out of my element in a room of teachers who have forgotten more about math than I'll ever know, Dan was quite patient with me and indulged my desire to figure out the phraseology for using Wolfram Alpha to solve the problem. That experience proved to me that Dan definitely knows how to pose perplexing problems that can't be solved with a simple search on Wolfram Alpha unless you already know quite a bit of mathematics. I'm looking forward to learning more this week. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

101 Math Questions

This evening I had the pleasure of hearing Dan Meyer give the keynote at the Maine School of Science and Math's Educator Summer Camp. I'll post my notes from his talk tomorrow, but in the meantime I want to point out Dan's 101 Questions site. 101 Questions is a site on which he is sharing images and videos as prompts for developing math questions. Each image and video has a 140 character field in which you can enter your question. Questions are compiled and can be Tweeted. Take a look at the top 10 to get a feel for what you will find on 101 Questions. I've embedded one of the videos from 101 Questions below.

Incredible Shrinking Dollar from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

I won't pretend to be able to explain the larger purpose of the site as well as Dan does, so I'll just encourage you to go read his blog post about it. And if you need more background on who Dan Meyer is, watch his TED Talk Math Class Needs a Makeover.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

101 Questions - A New Math Questions Site from Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer has just launched a new site called 101 Questions on which he is sharing images and videos as prompts for developing math questions. Each image and video has a 140 character field in which you can enter your question. Questions are compiled and can be Tweeted. Take a look at the top 10 to get a feel for what you will find on 101 Questions. I've embedded one of the videos from 101 Questions below.

Incredible Shrinking Dollar from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

I won't pretend to be able to explain the larger purpose of the site as well as Dan does, so I'll just encourage you to go read his blog post about it. And if you need more background on who Dan Meyer is, watch his TED Talk Math Class Needs a Makeover.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Salman Khan - Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education

Salman Khan, founder of the wildly popular Khan Academy, recently gave a talk at TED. As you might expect, Khan does tell the story of how he started the academy but that's not the main point of his talk. In his talk he gives examples of how teachers are using Khan Academy to use classroom time more effectively, provide more data to teachers about their students, and provide students with more individualized instruction. Khan concludes his talk with how technology can be used to humanize classrooms and learning worldwide. Watch the video below, I think you'll get some good ideas from it.

If you like Salman Khan's talk, you'll probably like Dan Meyer's Math Class Needs a Makeover too.

H/T to Donelle O'Brien and Cory Plough.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A TED Talk for Your Weekend - Learning from Mistakes

I love it when practicing educators get to share their experiences on a large stage. Earlier this year Dan Meyer's Math Class Needs a Makeover presentation was featured on the TED Blog. This week Diana Laufenberg's talk, How to Learn? From Mistakes was featured on the TED Blog. In her talk Diana shares what she's done and is doing in her practice (some really cool social studies stuff) and what she and her students have learned. Most importantly, Diana shares what it means to teach in a world where information is freely available almost everywhere. Watch the video below.

By the way, when Diana Skyped into one of my classes last year during a discussion about what makes a good school, my students were totally impressed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Teaching Kids Real Math With Computers

In part because my high school mathematics experience was not good, I'm always intrigued by new ideas for improving mathematics instruction. Therefore, when I saw today that the TED Blog featured a talk titled Teaching Kids Real Math With Computers I stopped what I was doing to watch it.

In Teaching Kids Real Math With Computers Conrad Wolfram claims that the hand calculations most math curricula requires is irrelevant to most real world mathematics applications. Wolfram argues that students should instead be taught to apply mathematics to computer programming. Wolfram points out that problems aren't dumbed-down by computers and, in fact, can be made more challenging by computer programming. Wolfram also claims that the real problem with current mathematics instruction is that "we have dumbed-down" problems. I can't say that I agree with everything Wolfram says, but he will make you think about about instruction. Watch the video below.

If you're interested in another approach to mathematics instruction watch Math Class Needs a Makeover embedded below.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Computational Thinking Lessons from Google

Through Dan Meyer's blog I just learned that Google has recently released dozens of lessons for exploring computational thinking through the use of Python programming. Now if you're wondering, "what the heck does that mean?" don't worry, I wondered the same. But since Dan Meyer is one of the people in the edu-blog-o-sphere that I have great respect for, and since he wrote one of the lessons, I had to investigate exploring computational thinking through Python. Python is a programming language. Exploring computational thinking through Python is a series of lessons in which middle school and high school students use Python to try to put mathematics and science concepts to use.

Applications for Education
Exploring Computational Thinking is a series of lessons for designed to help middle school and high school students explore mathematics and science concepts. Google developed these lessons to use Python. As Google states in their Teacher's Guide Introduction to Python, the reason for using Python is, "A computer program gives students the opportunity to directly apply the algorithms they learn in class and provides them with a tangible reason for using variables rather than specific numbers in math."

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you: 
Math Class Needs a Makeover
38 Weeks of Algebra Lessons
200+ Free Mathematics Books

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Don't Miss Event for Math Teachers

Last week when I posted 38 Weeks of Algebra Lessons I raved about Dan Meyer. When I wrote about Math Class Needs a Makeover, I raved about Dan Meyer's work. Tonight at 9:30pm EST you can join Dan Meyer on Learn Central talking about his ideas for making mathematics instruction better. The session will be hosted in Elluminate so you will need install and allow Elluminate access to your computer if you want to participate in the interactive part of the session. You can find all of the details about tonight's session with Dan Meyer on Steve Hargadon's blog.

If you're not familiar with Dan Meyer's ideas about mathematics instruction, watch the video below.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

38 Weeks of Algebra Lessons

If you've seen Dan Meyer's TED Talk, Math Class Needs a Makeover, you already know that he's an awesome educator. If you haven't seen his talk, go watch it now then come back to this post. Yesterday, Dan Meyer published his entire 38 week Algebra curriculum complete with slides, handouts, and just about everything you need in order to deliver the lessons. You can download each week individually or download the entire collection as one file.

Dan Meyer also has his entire 38 week Geometry curriculum available for free. Again, you can download each week individually or download the entire collection as one file.

Applications for Education
Dan Meyer is the type of mathematics teacher that I wish I had in high school. His approach to teaching mathematics, explained in his TED Talk, is definitely a break from the textbook methods. You might not be able to use all of his lessons, but they are certainly worth looking at for ideas about how you might try new approach to teaching Algebra or Geometry.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
35+ Educational Games and Games Resources

Interactivate - Interactive Math Assessments
200+ Free Mathematics Books

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Watch This Now - Math Class Needs a Makeover

Dan Meyer is a math teacher and blogger that I've been following for a couple of years. In March Mr. Meyer gave a talk at TEDxNYED in which he explained why math instruction needs a makeover. Today, that talk was featured on the TED blog. Even if you're not a mathematics teacher, you should take twelve minutes to watch this video today and share it with every teacher you know. The ideas that Dan Meyer presents in his talk apply to more than just mathematics instruction. He talks about the need for giving students problems that make them really stop and think. Mr. Meyer also stresses the need for teachers to be patient problem solvers. Watch the talk now and find out why most mathematics books are the equivalent of watching Two and a Half Men.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
15 TED Talks to Watch Before 2010
TED Talk - Creativity and Play
TED Talk - Underwater Astonishments

Monday, August 31, 2009

Want to Know What My Classes Are Doing?

In the style of Dan Meyer and Larry Ferlazzo, I share with you the link to my classroom blog for the year. is where I will be posting the videos, articles, and other materials that I use in class throughout the year. This year I'm teaching 11th grade US History and an elective Civics course. If you're interested in what my students and I are doing, feel free to take a look at anytime.