I had the great privilege to attend a workshop last week led by the famous-amongst-the-nerds visionary math teacher Dan Meyer. He presented a very accessible framework for bringing more application to the math classroom, engaging students in the process of thoughtful inquiry, and giving them a little of the joy the rest of us nerds experience while doing mathematics.
While the workshop wasn’t focused on technology, I was impressed with Dan’s use of technology while he modeled the teaching strategies. Our discussion, which took place in a group of about 50 educators, was documented in a text editor, as he typed our responses during whole-group discussion. Projecting the text was a great way to keep track of others’ input, and it made it easy to reference what had already been said, as well as come back to those comments at the end of the “lesson”. It helps to be a fast typist, and I loved the seamless use of a very simple software tool to increase engagement.
Dan also has curated a slew of fantastic materials for teachers to access, and they encourage thought, reasoning, and inquiry. Have a look at these websites for inspiration:
Want to get students asking interesting questions in any subject / at all levels? Look here: 101 Questions
Want your students to work on making reasonable estimates? (math/science) Look here: Estimation 180
For the math teachers reading this, you probably already follow Dan’s blog, but if not: start. He has great discussions on how to approach problems from an interesting perspective, and you can get an idea of how his Three Act math problems work.
Finally, here is a link to his TED talk, with some inspiring ideas about creating intellectual interest in math.
There is plenty of inspiration there to keep me occupied for quite some time, and now at the end of the school year I find I have the time and energy to plan these activities for next year. I hope you find some of them useful, too!