[Help Wanted] Ask Your Students To Ask Some Questions

Here are some questions that interest me:

  1. How useful is 101questions as a proxy for student interest?
  2. For example, when we find that 19% of 101questions users skip The Ticket Roll, does that mean that 19% of math students will skip it also?
  3. When we scribble information all over our images in our textbooks (instead of presenting concrete contexts) how does that affect their perplexity?
  4. For which contexts is video useful? Is the Pyramid of Pennies more perplexing as a photo or a video?
  5. Does a tripod matter? How is a student’s interest in a video affected if it features a slight wiggle rather than if the camera is locked down?

Niche questions, certainly, but they interest me so I set up two installations of the 101questions software at eagle.101qs.com and hawk.101qs.com to answer them.

What You Can Do For Me

If you are in a 1:1 classroom where Vimeo and YouTube aren’t blocked, and you have twenty free minutes between now and the end of the year, you can help me answer them.

In the comments, let me know how many students you can commit and in what classes. I’ll e-mail you a handout (looks like this) you can cut up and pass out to your students.

The rest should be smooth. Once the number of conscripted students clears a certain bar, I’ll close the thread.

BTW: Nathan Kraft surveyed his students along similar lines. The results are fascinating.

2012 May 30: That’ll do it. Comments closed. Thanks for your help, everybody.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Dan, I am sure I can locate a few colleagues who can help you out. Do you have a grade/age range you are looking for? I can probably locate classes in both middle and high schools. I have no doubt I could locate 4-6 classes.

  2. I can help with my 8th graders: 30 kids in algebra, 15 kids in geometry.

    (My 6th graders went through a portion of 101qs already a few months ago.)

  3. Chris Robinson

    May 29, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    Unfortunately, instead of teaching responsible Internet usage, my district has decided that YouTube and such can only corrupt, so I could only do it classwide with my account projecting. Now what to do after finals week…

  4. I REALLY like the 101q project… Especially for drawing students into physics or math questions that they can answer themselves through experiment!

    For teachers in schools that won’t allow YouTube, if you have access to a projector perhaps you can download the video from YouTube and stick it on a thumb drive?

    I’m intrigued by question #5 about the tripod, though this sprite/coke mixing video looks more like it was shot on a large vessel than like it was shot without a tripod… woozy! The real question seems to me whether there’s any real value to production value – whether video shot with a crappy iPhone 3 camera and no tripod (http://bit.ly/Lcfgk7) can be just as effective as video shot with a 5d and a production crew.

    My intuition tells me that if the goal of the video is to draw students in with a more dramatic/cinematic experience, then yes, they should look good, sound good, and be generally fun to watch. But intuition won’t win arguments (or funding). More data needed… Sign me up!

  5. Hey there,
    I could help out. I would be able to probably get between 60-90 6-8 students, from Ontario, before the school year is out.

  6. I would love to help, as I love 101qs. I have 60 grade 8 math students to lend a hand.

  7. @Joe K: I am totally with you. Very intrigued by the tripod/wiggle question.

    @Dan: I have 80+ geometry students (mostly 10th grade) locked and loaded for next week.

  8. YouTube is blocked for students, but not on my laptop. I have a bunch of Algebra 1 students (different levels) who would happily check stuff out during lunch or before or after school (really. I’m very persuasive.) If I can figure out how to allow access to multiple students, I have Honors Adv Algebra sophomores too. We have to turn in grades a week before school ends, so we could use something fun to check out.

  9. Can’t help you right now but I am heading back to a school next year so please count me in for similar activities next year. I will be teaching in a K-9 setting so it would be neat to try these out with various age groups.

  10. I’d love to help.
    I have 18 kids in an Algebra class that can do it on Wednesday or Thursday. Since I submitted a few of the hawk and eagle entries, would you still want my students to participate?

  11. I have a group of 10 middle school students in grades 6th to 8th. I think I could complete this survey with one of my classes over the next week.

  12. I’m wondering – does solving the answer to “The Ticket” permit the use of a cell phone bar code scanner? I easily got “2000” for the answer using the Amazon iPhone app. I had a feeling my students would find the answer that way too. Yup. It took about a minute before a student took out his phone and used Google Goggles.

  13. Chris Friberg

    May 30, 2012 - 5:15 am

    I have about 60 algebra1 8th graders who would love to participate. If you end up short in numbers, I’m sure my colleagues would pitch in with their classes too.

  14. Thanks for the help, everybody. If your specs matched the projects I have sent or am in the process of sending you your login cards.