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How I Met Your Mother

Ha ha … oh man … *wipes tear* … this is awful. I can’t turn it off. The game’s just too easy right now. I mean, everyone’s serving me up these monster lesson plans. I’d have to walk around with my ears gummed up and my eyes blindfolded to experience even a little bit of a lesson planning block.

Exhibit A is, of course, The Red Dot (and how I taught it), a small blurb snatched out of an RSS feed and built into an hour of Algebra.

Exhibit B is CBS’ sitcom How I Met Your Mother which featured the following exchange last week. (Enjoy a YouTube upload of the scene or the following screenplay [which looks awesome outside the RSS feed].)

Luckless Ted (Josh Radnor) just met a girl online. Suit-sporting bachelor Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) interrogates:

  • INT. THEIR USUAL BAR - NIGHT
  • BARNEY
  • So she's hot?
  • TED
  • Oh she's gorgeous.
  • BARNEY
  • Then ... she's crazy.
  • TED
  • No she's not.
  • BARNEY
  • There's no way she's above the line on the hot/crazy scale.
  • TED
  • She's not even on the hot/crazy scale. She's just hot.

Robin (Cobie Smulders) asks for an explanation of the hot/crazy scale, a scale which fits our current lesson plan like that embarrassingly tight t-shirt you’ve gotta suck in your gut to wear.

See, as Barney explains, being crazy is fine so long as you match your neuroses with good looks in a one-to-one correspondence (or better). Which makes sense.

In a fantastic hey-mister-scientist moment, Barney terms that line the Vickie Mendoza Diagonal, which, I mean, holy cow, I don’t care who you are, there’s no way to mess that one up.

But again, I didn’t care about the base hit. I wanted the home run, lights exploding as I rounded the bases, etc.

So I fabricated ten ex-girlfriends and ranked them on a ten-point scale for looks and sanity.

I asked the students to graph ‘em and tell me which ones fell above the Vickie Mendoza Diagonal.Another question asked, totally straight-faced: “Is Mr. Meyer monogamous?”

I also put a length to each relationship and a start date, including two more graphs, which yielded interesting conclusions about a) the length of the relationships as my girlfriends got crazier,

and b) the hotness of the girls I dated as I got older.

It was fun. So fun.

I showed ‘em individual dot plots of length and crazy and pointed out how they didn’t reveal anything

Then I put ‘em all on the same scatter plot and the thought farthest from their minds at that moment was, when could we ever use this in real life?

Oh man … I swear, if I wasn’t a teacher, I’d have that screenplay banked by now plus four more on top of it. Such is the creativity this job demands.

Enclosures:

  1. Keynote
  2. PowerPoint
  3. PDF
  4. Quicktime Movie
  5. Handout

17 Responses to “How I Met Your Mother”

  1. on 26 Oct 2007 at 4:42 pmMichael K.

    Nice move, tossing a baseball reference in there, giving props to that other Mendoza.

  2. on 26 Oct 2007 at 5:56 pmken

    see Jessica Hagy’s blog for more graphing fun!

  3. on 28 Oct 2007 at 12:42 pmDee

    Just goes to show you – I enjoyed the entire episode without it ever crossing my mind about the math in it! Thanks for your wonderful perspective!

  4. […] last recommendation is Dy-Dan – and his blog entry on a math lesson that was taught on TaaDaa…How I Met Your Mother (called […]

  5. on 30 Oct 2007 at 6:34 pmTMAO

    This is good shit. I laughed my proverbial ass off at the girlfriend chart. Nice.

  6. on 12 Nov 2007 at 7:21 amAwesomeness

    Excellent! Your further analysis of Barney’s Crazy vs. Hot scale is truly awesome. Truly you have a dizzying intellect as seen by the graphs… makes me want to plot all my past relationships out to see how the graph would look. Either way…thanks for the laugh.

  7. […] reasoning). I figured, until recently, that in a 120-minute classroom, any time we spent on goofy conceptual digressions was time away from skill instruction we’d have to make up […]

  8. on 25 Mar 2009 at 7:54 amSimon Oldaker

    If you don’t mind goofy conceptual digressions, then you should check out ‘Le grand content': a video made from Jessica Hagy’s graphs. I can’t really explain which point in the curriculum this is going to come under, but I’m going to show it to my class anyway…

  9. […] my planning time lately curating media of the kind Todd lists in his awesome run-on sentence there: TV shows, photos I find, photos I take, video I capture, iPhone applications, current events, commercials, […]

  10. […] out some examples of lessons Meyer has created (sometimes in collaboration with his readers) from TV shows, photos Meyer finds, photos Meyer takes, video Meyer captures, iPhone applications, current events, […]

  11. on 15 Jun 2009 at 5:14 pmElissa

    Now THIS is on my level. I love this and actually understand it. My first comment that doesn’t ask a question!!

  12. on 24 Feb 2010 at 6:24 amuberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elissa Miller: @mackrellr http://ow.ly/yslb and http://ow.ly/ysn4 are awesome ideas…

  13. on 16 May 2010 at 4:27 pmMath Teacher | Public Agents

    […] a tool for exploration. Start by following Mr. Meyer’s blog. For a hook, read this post about Hotness vs. Craziness in romantic […]

  14. […] den absolut bästa och smaskigaste: How I Met Your Mother. Han sitter alltså och tittar på TV och blir inspirerad till en mattelektion som beskrivs i […]

  15. […] and grading in a traditional manner will most likely, not accomplish this.  This is why we watch “How I Met your Mother” clips and discuss the Crazy -vs- Hot scale.  I want them to love my class and not hate […]

  16. on 26 Feb 2011 at 9:00 amMath Teacher « William D. Walker

    […] a tool for exploration. Start by following Mr. Meyer’s blog. For a hook, read this post about Hotness vs. Craziness in romantic […]

  17. […] So when I taught my statistics unit in November, I decided to have fun with it. I was doing Dan Meyer’s How I Met Your Mother lesson and updated it a bit. See, I wouldn’t just use Dan’s list of fabricated ex-girlfriends. […]