Secret Skepticisms
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TimestampWhat is your secret question or skepticism?Sample Question 2
7/26/2012 3:13:39I sit here, super inspired, super excited, super hopeful, but then skeptical of my own ability to suppress my perfectionist tendencies, skeptical of my time management to actually pull this off, when teaching tends to just suck up so much time and energy with grading, parents, paperwork, etc.
7/26/2012 3:14:09Time, time, time!!!

My time, students' time, lesson time. I don't believe this is unsolvable. It is a matter of intentional timing.

How do we do "regular"lessons too? Any tips?
7/26/2012 3:14:53Skepticism:
There is no time to fit in specific lessons such as methods of factoring polynomials without having lecture and practices.

Is there a cross-reference matrix that connects different concepts to the different on-line lessons?
7/26/2012 3:15:35These activities work beautifully when there's a somewhat complex topic to be introduced. How can I make sure this technique seems relevant for elementary level topics that involve much shorter initial investigation? (i.e., doesn't fall flat when some kids have figured it out 5 minutes in)
7/26/2012 3:15:48Why do high school teachers have to assume students do not learn anything in middle school?
7/26/2012 3:15:59How can I find resources like the ones you have presented (videos) without spending an obscene amount of time? Where can I go to find them?
7/26/2012 3:16:03Given the finite number of days in the school and the ever increasing number of topics I'm expected to cover, I'm not sure how often I'll be able to take a full class period to cover one problem - no mater how much more meaningful said problem might be.
7/26/2012 3:16:40If a concept is new for a student, will the method of presenting a video/question first and expecting them to answer work?

Or in other words...I would expect students to have the conceptual knowledge before doing the procedures, does this method allow for that?
7/26/2012 3:17:02I don't have any skepticism about what we've been talking about but I think my biggest question would be can I get my brain to work like that? Am I creative and intuitive enough to capture those moments and "find the math"
7/26/2012 3:17:54How do I locate resources like you have presented on particular topics, such as linear algebra, geometry, quadratics, etc.?
7/26/2012 3:17:55Realistically, with new topics being introduced nearly every day, how often can one of these videos be used with a class to foster perplexity?
7/26/2012 3:18:55I am perplexed as to how to connect these great problems to curriculum. I don't want my students to have isolated experiences but want them to connect to a larger mathematical picture.
7/26/2012 5:26:32What results have you found when using this with students with disabilities?
7/26/2012 5:29:47Where is the time in the teaching year to incorporate more than one of these problems per quarter?
7/26/2012 5:30:27That I will be able to effectively utilize perplexing videos vs. intersting-in-your-face-math videos
7/26/2012 5:30:28Worried about being able to find perplexities that address the big concepts within the curriculum
7/26/2012 5:30:41How can I possibly teach all skills in a math class such as Calculus using these type of thought provoking methods?
7/26/2012 5:30:42i am concerned that i will not be able to create lessons that are as perplexing as the ones i have seen here.
7/26/2012 5:30:50How will I be able to come up with enough ideas to make irrelevant concepts relevant? Time? Both class time and prep time.
7/26/2012 5:30:53Using it to help teach concepts that most student struggle with at the high school level. Being able to work it into the curriculum.
7/26/2012 5:30:57What do you use or recommend I use in order to format videos and pictures (such as add in the dimensions as you do for act 2)? How do you know the dimensions if they are not given to you and what can you use to figure them out?
7/26/2012 5:31:05What do you use or recommend I use in order to format videos and pictures (such as add in the dimensions as you do for act 2)? How do you know the dimensions if they are not given to you and what can you use to figure them out?
7/26/2012 5:31:28I wonder how I will ever remember to start math class with a hook, then follow with the material/info....practice, I suppose. Good class. thanks
7/26/2012 5:31:41I am worried that my kids will just give up on perplexing problems even when they are very interesting to me. Some of my kids don't have perseverance.
7/26/2012 8:04:11Most students are kinesthetic learners. To support their learning we need to use hands-on activities. How do you incorporate hands-on into your teaching?
1/27/2013 20:47:10tk
1/28/2013 20:50:51What you've shown us is certainly applicable to concepts which have potential modeling applications, but how would one go about teaching something more abstract (for example, what about general polynomial theory with polynomials of degree four or above)?
1/28/2013 20:51:21How many of these questions/problems can you realistically do while balancing CPM curriculum?
1/28/2013 20:51:24How often should we be expected to create these? 2-3 per standard. One per standard? What is reasonable with our workload?
1/28/2013 20:52:04I am uncertain about the amount of time and how often I would actually do such things. I get the general ideas, but, as always, I wonder about implementing the larger questions that I have created myself (i.e. finding the time to come up with it and then create it). I suppose starting slowly and building several is the way to do this.
1/28/2013 20:52:39How does one find time to do this with out feeling the pressure of moving with the content and keeping up with "the" timeline?
1/28/2013 20:52:39All of these "acts" are very useful for learning activities...wish there was a way to capture the level of each students understanding so we can communicate a student's ability/knowledge based on the standards we report on.
1/28/2013 20:54:35How can I recognize what kind of lead up and "as needed" information (hook) to provide without "stealing the moment" of the students?
1/28/2013 20:56:16One of my colleagues, who worked on a Native American reservation with underprivileged children, commented that math was hard to teach using the 'extrinsic motivation' of being able to use the concepts learned in math in the real world, because there really was no real world beyond the reservation, getting drunk and powwows. So, how exactly would you go about teaching math using 'intrinsic motivation', in the sense that it has the express purpose of teaching math more for allowing them to better see the beauty of mathematics?
1/31/2013 21:12:49So you "see something in real life, it reminds me of math, I make an activity and file it away to use at a later time."

What happens when the reverse is the situation? "I need to teach something math, and have absolutely no idea how I can come up with something intriguing and interesting to use as an activity." We're trying to follow your steps, but coming up with a fascinating video example of dividing with decimals is kicking our butts.
2/1/2013 20:23:15Implications for assessment?
2/1/2013 20:23:16How does this work for special needs students?
2/1/2013 20:23:34
2/1/2013 20:24:00How do you manage the time to do all of this and all of the other things we need to do like coaching, family life, etc.?
2/1/2013 20:24:59Timing. You have to think of an appropriate length of the activity and still manage to finish your curriculum.
2/1/2013 20:26:59But when are they getting the basics?
2/1/2013 20:27:38Having a bank of tested and targeted topics with suggestions for acts 1, 2 and particularly 3 as busy professionals trying to avoid reinventing the wheel would be great. Is there or will there be such a source (paid or otherwise)?
2/1/2013 20:27:59It easy to engage a room full of math teachers in talking about math. The hard part comes when you try to engage a classroom of students with various ability levels. Differentiation is always the tricky part.
2/1/2013 20:28:02How do you typically structure this in class? Do you start during class time and then have students finish up at home and debrief next class, or do you run the entire process in class and then.....what next? Or something else?
2/1/2013 20:28:10The only real hassle that I have to translate this is having the time to a) find and create these authentic challenges and b) incorporate these into my class in a timely and effective way
I'm looking for the big book of great math acts!
2/1/2013 20:31:37Have seen many workshops. Your modelling ideas are really outstanding and this is one of the best workshops I've attended. But the question arises, with a load of 13 classes a week, will I have the time to put more of these together?
2/1/2013 20:31:37Have seen many workshops. Your modelling ideas are really outstanding and this is one of the best workshops I've attended. But the question arises, with a load of 13 classes a week, will I have the time to put more of these together?
2/1/2013 20:34:33Have you found math topics you can't model?
2/1/2013 20:34:33Have you found math topics you can't model?
2/1/2013 20:34:54Other than walking around listening to students' discussions, how do you assess students' understanding?

The 3-Act Math works well with problem solving; in your opinion, what percentage of this should be part of curriculum? In other words, in one unit of work, how often should a teacher do in class with the 3-act math to balance a curriculum where traditionally being heavily focused on rote learning?
2/2/2013 20:27:59Why do you think more teachers aren't thinking this way?
2/2/2013 20:28:13The learning that takes place in these lessons seems great but how do you find it transfers to tests and exams that many of our students sit?
2/2/2013 20:28:27How could this work for the development of the basic skills/operations (elementary school)?
2/2/2013 20:28:39That the students would ask for information that I did not have or could not find.

Could it be easy to lose the maths and students go off on a different tangent?
2/2/2013 20:28:53Balancing the number of these activities with the content needed to cover vs. the depth need to cover
2/2/2013 20:29:01How often would you do this type of lesson? In relation to time needed to create, time needed to perform, etc. Are there limitations to the type of mathematical strategies being represented?
2/2/2013 20:29:07How can we incorporate these ideas into an exam based class such as IB when we feel pressed for time? A few a year? Once a fortnight? etc I am sure that you get this question a lot!
2/2/2013 20:29:16Can you tell me more about Textmate? Why do you use it?

How much technology would you use in your class if you had students now? Would your teaching style be different?
2/2/2013 20:29:22How often would you start a topic with this sort of approach?
2/2/2013 20:29:23How many of these do you do with a class per semester?

2/2/2013 20:29:26How often can I use these activities in my class? There is a lot to cover, but these seem to take up a good deal of time. I see doing one of these maybe once per unit?
Is there a way to use these activities for assessment?
2/2/2013 20:29:32Some topics seem really tricky to turn into problems like this, how do you come up with ideas for those tricky topics?
2/2/2013 20:29:34Great ideas and very innovative ways to teach.

Have you had success with this with all classes of varying abilities?
2/2/2013 20:29:37How can you find the time to prepare and fit into the curriculum?
How can you ensure the extension is correct if students have followed own idea?
2/2/2013 20:29:40How often can I use these activities in my class? There is a lot to cover, but these seem to take up a good deal of time. I see doing one of these maybe once per unit?
Is there a way to use these activities for assessment?
2/2/2013 20:30:03I'm convinced that student engagement in mathematics increases using the approach to teaching discussed today. I'm wondering if there is any causal/correlative data to support that higher engagement leads to improved achievement? Or... how much better is this way to teach than the old way?
2/2/2013 20:30:08I wish I had the time to create all this! Where can I access resources like this for Calculus and Algebra 2?

How often do you use this type of activity? Seems like maybe weekly at the most!
2/2/2013 20:30:10How do you really decide which answer is correct when presented solutions/calculations seem qualified but still derive different answers each time?
2/2/2013 20:30:12Ben, Jeremy & Richard: IF you have an external exam, can you do one of these for each unit and still have students master the curriculum?
2/2/2013 20:30:13I'm worried the students will feel like the lessons are 'forced' and fake and potentially become disinterested.
2/2/2013 20:30:17I am concerned about the time involved in lessons for these types of (worthy) investigations of V completing the curriculum

2/2/2013 20:30:19There's a tension between sharing these in a public forum like a blog (where they can help Math teachers who don't have to create them all themselves) and knowing that the answers are out there for your kids too.
2/2/2013 20:30:27When you provide the measurements - heights, weights, timings etc. for the problems to be solved how do you ensure that they give a 'solvable' answer and that they are not too difficult/suitable for the problem?
2/2/2013 20:30:30I have a couple of classes that are made up of very low-level students. How do you get everyone to stay involved and not shut down?
2/2/2013 20:31:03How can you get students to make these videos?
2/2/2013 20:31:29Have you ever had the chance to re-write/re-create an entire mathematics textbook into your vision of the three acts, questioning and real life use of math? If so how successful was it? If not, are you planning to?
2/2/2013 20:32:20Skeptic: How much time do we devote to these excellent standalone experiences, whilst still ensuring we cover a whole heap of content ?

Realist: we pick and choose our favourites that tie in with our current curriculum direction.

Idealist: we ditch our current curriculum and introduce a whole new curriculum based on modeling. Each lesson, or unit of lessons, is started off with a stimulus. Content that is not known is learned within this unit, then applied at the end for the solution.
2/2/2013 20:32:35
2/2/2013 20:34:19Most examples given are area/volume or rate questions. How would you do this for something like proving triangles similar?
2/2/2013 20:34:39Two questions (sorry);

1. In IB: MYP framework we have to "formally" assess this process. I agree that this is a useful way for kids to take ownership of their learning and come to enjoy mathematics, but I'm still lost as to how this fits into assessment. It feels like conning the kids when we do these cool in class activities only to give them a paper test to fill out quietly at their desk.
TL;DR is there a "good" way to assess students' ability to model mathematically?

2. Also, did you ever find yourself in class saying something along the lines of "I know this is boring, but this is something we have to do to get to the fun stuff later"? I've said it a number of times, I feel like a terrible teacher sometimes for it, but EVERY math teacher I've talked to has said this before.
2/2/2013 20:35:04Seeing such examples for the first time does pique one's curiosity but...

Does their continued use demotivate? When do these simply become part and parcel of "normal run of the mill" teaching?
2/2/2013 20:35:34Can you really get through the IB or IGCSE Syllabus if you spend so much time introducing topic this way?
2/2/2013 20:39:32How do you deal with the issus of student's questions not being answered with in act 3 style?
For high students would think this would be a reoccurring issue.
2/2/2013 20:39:44What balance do you have between your methods and more traditional methods?
2/2/2013 20:40:54LOVE this idea BTW:

Dide, why oh why was this day advertised for Grade 6 and up only? I know loads of Primary school who would TOTALLY have loved this, I love this stuff, it's so ... differentiable is that a word? It is now - like sure, the 'perfect' answer might require some more complex Maths, but a 'good enough (which lets' fact it is good enough in 'real life'') can be applied all the way down to G1.

I think the importance of estimation could be bigged up more, you ask for these, which is great, but we never got to the nitty gritty of unpacking those -you toughed on it, but I think that's a but of hole. IMHO with the advent of tech, the skill of estimation has never been more essential. I've seen spreadsheets churning out all the wrong answers for all the right reasons...

My final sceptic snippet, is I'd like to see more examples which are relatable to authentic scenarios - or maybe as part of Act 3, ask for suggestions as to how the Math could be applied in 'real life' ...

We need you to come back in do this for the Primary schools!


2/2/2013 20:41:43I dont have time to make the cool videos
2/2/2013 21:25:50Most examples given are area/volume or rate questions. How would you do this for something like proving triangles similar?
4/11/2013 7:45:57Hey, where's the homework?
4/11/2013 7:46:17How do you use this to collect data in order to show progress and give grades?
4/11/2013 7:46:18how do you deal with practicing a concept? do you think that students need to reinforce what they've learned?
4/11/2013 7:46:36How do we get other teachers, and trainers of teachers, to buy-in and implement the three-act plays philosophy with fidelity?
4/11/2013 7:46:48We are an ideal group of math teachers....what about the student who does not care to learn? Or was not engaged in the group discussion?
4/11/2013 7:46:53I love the Three Act Math pedagogy and use it with my students. I'm wondering how to balance these lessons with skill development.
4/11/2013 7:47:05Will publishers produce programs that provide this rich learning opportunity for students? When?
4/11/2013 7:47:07How do you convince educators (none of whom are in this room) that they could in fact get more from students by releasing control, and changing their role to "Teacher as Facilitator," versus the traditional "Teacher as knowledge conduit?" As you said earlier, people teach as they were taught... how do we change this?
4/11/2013 7:47:09Many of the tasks (and certainly the movie examples) seem to have a bias toward male interests (sports, action movies, etc.) While your approach seeks to be more and more inclusive, we need to be deliberate in being inclusive of the feminine as well.
4/11/2013 7:47:11When do you use these questions?
How do you follow-up to be sure all students have learned what is important to know about the mathematics that is embedded in the problem?
4/11/2013 7:47:13How do these creative, thinking skills translate to the traditional standardized test?
4/11/2013 7:47:18What do you do with basic number skills and algorithms, like multiplying and dividing, if students haven't mastered them?