So I stole an idea from Dan Meyer – *SHOCKER*

Dan Meyer provided our district’s math department with two days of PD in June.  I liked the homework he assigned to us, and I’m in the process of merging his idea with a problem-solving plan for a longer-term mini-project of sorts.

For their first homework assignment of the school year, my new crew of 7th and 8th graders were each asked to bring an image to class they believed would evoke lots of interesting questions.  I asked them to put on a “math lens” and look at the world as a place where math happens.  I showed an example photo that I had taken several weeks ago at our community pool’s picnic pavilion.

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Loving those triangles







I provided students with this template:

The Math Cam Day 1

On Day 2, we had a “gallery walk” where students walked about the room examining the images.  They were asked to write one question on each person’s paper in their row of desks, and return to their own seat to see what questions others had written.  Some students asked for an example of a question, but I politely refused to provide any. 🙂

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Math Cam Gallery Walk

Just about every student was surprised by the questions written by their peers.  Virtually no one asked/wrote the question that the image-bearer expected to be asked.  Pretty neat.  Here are a few samples.  One of my favorites was the Target logo – you can’t get more familiar than a logo like that, and yet, how many students saw math when they looked at that logo prior to our class?  Who will see math when they view that logo from now on? 😉

The shirt I was wearing

The shirt I was wearing

I could see students’ perspectives shifting before my eyes.  One student’s hand shot straight in the air after having some sort of math epiphany.  She said, “Mrs. Yenca, I’m starting to see math in your shirt!”

I encouraged students to use their iPhones and iPads to begin capturing and sharing images with the class and me, so that we can make connections throughout the school year.  Eventually, whether students use this initial image or find a new one, I’d like them to develop a question and see a problem through to a solution or resolution using a 4-step problem solving model.  To be continued…



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4 Responses to So I stole an idea from Dan Meyer – *SHOCKER*

  1. Kyle Pearce says:

    Very cool activity! A colleague of mine and I are hoping to do something similar where students will create their own 3 Act Math Task. This activity is a great way to introduce the concept and begin developing the question.

    Might do something similar at an upcoming PD session for teachers in my district as well…

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Margie Page says:

    Just found your “math cam” post [from last year] and I am so intrigued. I have a folder of about 40 new [to me] ideas for the first few days of school – culled from all of my reading this summer [blogs, TED, Twitter, TpT…] but this is the BEST! I can’t wait to create a handout and do this!!! [I was going to try to cut down on exclamation points this year, but maybe next time…]

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