Dan Meyer is a young math teacher offering novel methods for moving beyond the traditional word problem. He suggest using multimedia to create situations that relate directly to the students' world, something that might actually be similar to something they would see or need to do in real life. So rather than using the idealized questions that most textbooks provide the students with puzzles where they have to contemplate what the best way to solve it might be, rather than just plugging in a formula and making it work.

His guidance for creating good math problems is so similar to what we have been learning about creating good inquiry-based science lessons. Throw out a simple question that is complicated to answer. Have the students come up with the steps and investigations to get to the final answer. Then help them with the skills to complete those steps and eventually reach that answer.

Dan Meyer calls this "Math Intuition." That is, the ability to have an innate sense of how things relate to one another mathematically. You have to know what the right questions are first, before you can get the information to solve the problem. And knowing how to ask the right question is probably the most relevant part of mathematics for real life. Watch his video below:

His guidance for creating good math problems is so similar to what we have been learning about creating good inquiry-based science lessons. Throw out a simple question that is complicated to answer. Have the students come up with the steps and investigations to get to the final answer. Then help them with the skills to complete those steps and eventually reach that answer.

Dan Meyer calls this "Math Intuition." That is, the ability to have an innate sense of how things relate to one another mathematically. You have to know what the right questions are first, before you can get the information to solve the problem. And knowing how to ask the right question is probably the most relevant part of mathematics for real life. Watch his video below:

Another recent video I was impressed with was this one by Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab. He first discusses how he has seen students that learn to write computer code, even simple ones, benefit greatly from the process of debugging. That is, making mistakes in the code and having to figure out where the mistake is in order to fix it. Again, this seems like a form of inquiry, where students are provided a simple question that is complex to solve. They have to test a hypothesis (I think this bit of code is wrong) to determine if that is actually the mistake. And it becomes like a game for them, helping their minds become accustomed to solving complex problems.

He goes on to talk about how there is strong evidence that the worst thing in the American education system is the constant testing. Students have to give up on real learning so that they can simply become good test takers. He points to Finland, where their students consistently rank far at the top of global education ratings. Their secret is that they have taken the testing and competition out of education. We are "testing our kids to death," he says. And our system is broken because of it.

He goes on to talk about how there is strong evidence that the worst thing in the American education system is the constant testing. Students have to give up on real learning so that they can simply become good test takers. He points to Finland, where their students consistently rank far at the top of global education ratings. Their secret is that they have taken the testing and competition out of education. We are "testing our kids to death," he says. And our system is broken because of it.