Dan Meyer on TED.com

Dan Meyer is a math teacher in NYC.  Here’s a link to his TED talk.  This talk gets me fired up so I wanted to blog it so I can return to it next time I need some encouragement.

Quotable quotes:

This is an amazing time to be a math teacher.

Five signs that you are doing math reasoning wrong in your classroom:

  1. Lack of initiative
  2. Lack of perseverance
  3. Lack of retention
  4. Aversion to word problems
  5. Eagerness for formula

No problem worth solving is that simple…I am going to retire into a world that my students will run.

I believe in real life.  And ask yourself, what problem have you solved, ever that was worth solving, where you knew all of the given information in advance, or where you didn’t have a surplus of information and you had to filter it out, or where you didn’t have sufficient information and you had to go find some.

The math serves the conversation, not the conversation serving the math.

Einstein:  “The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.

So 90 percent of what I do with my five hours of prep time per week is to take fairly compelling elements of problems like this from my textbook and rebuild them in a way that supports math reasoning and patient problem solving.

I encourage math teachers:

  1. Use multimedia
  2. Encourage student intuition
  3. Ask the shortest question you can
  4. Let students build the problem
  5. Be less helpful

And from all this, I can only conclude that people, not just students, are really hungry for this.  Math makes sense of the world.  Math is the vocabulary for your own intuition.

Dan Meyer’s web site is http://mrmeyer.com

Key takeaway:  beware impatient problem solving…

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