I designed two tasks this month:
- Yellow Starbursts, inspired by a post Matt Townsley wrote over a year ago.
- Nana's Chocolate Milk, inspired by an experience I had bumbling around in the kitchen recently.
Some process notes:
- It's a lot to ask someone to click those links and look at a lesson plan. The reader has to decipher the structure of the plan and decode its particular jargon. (ie. "What language does the author use to indicate the point of the task and where on the page can I find it?") All of that may be necessary at some point in the plan but I'm trying to do my material a favor by isolating what about it is a) most perplexing, b) most visual, c) least verbal, and opening with that. If twenty seconds of video make you curious how many yellow Starbursts are in that huge pile of candy, you'll be more inclined to wade through my structure and jargon than if I opened with that structure and jargon.
- Math tasks imitate life. I imagine math teachers overestimate how often they practically use math in their daily life. It's easy to say that "math is everywhere," because it's true, but most of that math is performed by computer chips that are embedded in everything from your car to your toaster. So whenever you find yourself wielding math like a saber to cut through one of life's hassles, pull out a camera and capture that moment. Pose the problem to your students as you experienced it.
- More where those came from. I'm slowly building up a spreadsheet that lists all these tasks. Something more organized and visually appealing is somewhere in the works, but this will have to do for now.
- Behind the scenes. I can't imagine who'd be interested in the notes I wrote up as I designed these tasks but here are PDFs for Starbursts and Chocolate Milk, for Future Dan if nobody else.