Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ted Talk - Dan Meyers

Here is an excellent Ted Talk about how our Math curriculum is failing our students

He talks about how we, as teachers, expect students to conform to certain expectations and how we reward them for plugging answers into a specific equation.

Dan Meyers does an excellent job of giving an example of a typical Math problem. He breaks it down into different pieces to create discussion and debate among classmates. He brings in videos that allow for questions to be created and discussed and problems to be analyzed.

It is definitely worth your 15 minutes!
Check it out and let me know what you think :)


  1. I only heard of Dan Meyers about a week ago and he's got me hooked. I love it how he works in humour and his simple videos to make people think, to really think, about math. And yes it was worth my 15 minutes.

  2. Great video. I believe we do need to accommodate our teaching styles to the learning and expectations of 21st century. Start with proposing a short, but factual question, then take students through intuition, deductions, investigation,… it all reminds me my teaching in Kindergarten, when after some "calendar" activities I presented a "COOL" activity of the day. I said: “How about we do …this?” Kids went yeaaa…My next reply was: “ Hmmmmm...How do you think we should do it? Right there I had everybody contributing with some ideas, more questions, and so. My students were not intimidated by any problem, because they all learned in the process of exploration. They were ready to solve anything and make anything happen. We need to trigger students` natural curiosity and not to push it aside just because the students are now older/teenagers. I can totally agree with Dan Meyers suggestions:
    1. Use multimedia
    2. Encourage students intuition
    3. Ask a short and clear question
    4. Let student build the problem
    5. Be less helpful ....and I will add more enquiring.
    Thanks for sharing with this 15 min reminder. :)

  3. I find it interesting how Dan Meyer explains how math textbooks can essentially provide a disservice to students. These textbooks are designed to provide students all the information necessary to solve problems given the appropriate formula. In fact, students can use the exact same formula from the sample questions to solve the majority of questions in the unit with a few minor tweaks to the original equation. I can admit from personal experience that I am guilty of doing this myself! This then begs the question did I learn anything? Was I good at solving the problem or did I simply master the art of memorizing the sample problems?

    Dan Meyer is correct when he suggests that math class needs a makeover. Teachers need to invest in their teaching and rely less on the textbook as a way of teaching students, but more as a tool to support learning. Teachers must take the time to evaluate questions and sometimes rewrite them so that they are more appropriate for students to solve. This will help promote student inquiry and higher order thinking as opposed to solving problems with the provided formula!

  4. I'm glad that everyone liked the video, I too found it very interesting.

    At my previous school the principal was spending a large portion of his literacy and numeracy "budget" on revamping the Math program, which gave me the idea to search for this video. Every other wednesday we would get departmental PLC (professional learning community) time for curriculum development and enhancement.

    Most departments used the time for moderated marking, or cross course planning etc; the principal used this time for the Math department to bring in experts to help with a total overhaul of their program. Over the course of the year they were able to get through and revamp/update the entire grade 9 course.

    They added in inquiry activities, posted anchor charts and word walls, and essentially changed their outlook and approach to grade 9 math. I am unfortunately at a new school this year, but it would be interesting to see how the new curriculum is playing out.