Dan Meyer taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. He has advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and TED.com.

Hi. I’m Dan Meyer. I taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. I have advocated for better math instruction here and on CNN, Good Morning America, *Everyday With Rachel Ray*, and TED.com. I earned my doctorate from Stanford University in math education and I’m currently the Chief Academic Officer at Desmos where I explore and develop the future of math textbooks. I speak internationally and was named one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future. I live in Mountain View, CA.

on 06 Jan 2007 at 6:02 pm1 Dave MarainDan,

Thanks for the kind words about my new blog, MathNotations. Nothing is more gratifying than a compliment from one’s peer. I will return the compliment by adding your blog to my roll and I will post an acknowledgment as well. You are putting the lie to the idea that math teachers can’t be great writers – you are that and much more. You say what needs to be said concisely and your words have a ‘cutting edge’ (now there’s a different use of that term!). I won’t hold the vernacular of your age against you if you can accept my decrepit style of writing!!

Since I am not yet Web 2.0 ‘compliant’, and barely 1.0, I’m struggling to make my blog look good and do what it’s supposed to do. I’ve received ZERO comments thus far and I’m guessing that visitors can’t get log on or I haven’t enabled comments. Did you try? Pls email me at dmarain@rih.org.

I’m very excited about the math warmups but there’s a limited audience for math and I feel like I will quickly lose the interest of the non-math people who were attracted to my blog because of joannejacobs and WaPo. I will have a fun warmup for Monday so check it out even though it will appear to be more grade 4-7 oriented. The geometry problem is definitely a turnoff for edubloggers and most visitors who want controversy! But that’s ok, because good math problems need to be shared and I am always looking for new ideas. As you can tell I am trying to convey that there is much more to the math than can be covered in a 5 minute warmup. These questions can be generalized, extended and developed but time doesn’t permit that. I usually tell my students to do more with them and submit their ideas or solutions by 3 PM the same day or email me by 11 PM for extra credit. That works well with students who are already motivated and grade conscious. I use frequent online quizzes for my less motivated class and that has had limited success. We have threaded discussions that allow our students to dialogue before a quiz or test. I’m not into wiki because I don’t yet see the value of others revising student work or ideas, although I can see a real advantage of commenting on other’s work (including asking questions). I can do that to their submissions but I haven’t yet enabled this for students. I’m never afraid to try new things but I have to feel that it will somehow improve student learning. That kind of thinking however may be too inflexible for the 21st century! You never really know until you try it! I do ask my students every day if this or that tech innovation is helping them and they are dead honest about it — I learn so much from them!!

Keep up the great work, Dan. You have one of the best blogs I’ve read thus far and I wish my children could have you as their teacher.

Dave Marain

on 07 Mar 2007 at 7:10 pm2 Christina RuddI am at that point where I may become a statistic. You know, the one that says teachers today have a three to five year career span. I have always been a head strong, stubborn to fault, telling me I can’t do it only makes me want to succeed so I can rub it in your face, I eat whiners for breakfast, if I don’t like it I change it, type of person. I can thank my father for that. But for the first time this system of education, the reforms, the politics and the constant drone of “That’s the way it is and you’ll never change it, so live with it.” is starting to get to me! Will I persevere? Thank you for your insights, I found this blog at a good time and look forward to reading more.

on 08 Mar 2007 at 6:12 am3 danYeah, good luck with all this, Christina. I think it feels good and cathartic just to say the words, “I could leave, I really could,” to tell yourself that, in spite of all sorts of professional disappointments, you maintain your autonomy. You’re in control here. You could leave. We both could, but I don’t think we will. Longevity and skill correlate pretty highly in this job. The good ones stay, if only because they know how desperately teaching pines for their kind.

on 06 May 2007 at 5:18 pm4 Rachelle DeYoungHey Dan,

I am a Junior in high school and I am writing a paper on how homework is hurting students and I was very interested by your view of this subject. You make some very important point about how it is the teacher’s lack of planning that leads to large amounts of homework. It’s nice to know that there are teachers out there that feel the same way as some students. I just wish my math teacher would be more like you. Keep up the good work.

on 06 May 2007 at 8:01 pm5 danRachelle, you feel like e-mailing me that paper when you’re done, I’d be interested in a student perspective. dan at mrmeyer dot com

on 06 Jun 2007 at 11:19 am6 Teaching Better With Web 2.0 » Teachers As Bloggers: Superstars, Vol. 1[…] Blogger: Dan Meyer Location: Santa Cruz, CA Blog Title: Dy/Dan […]

on 06 Jun 2007 at 5:02 pm7 LouLouAfter reading your blog, I think I just might possibly be in love with you… : )

xoxo

a fellow math teacher in Austin

on 28 Jun 2007 at 2:15 pm8 impressedCTparentDan… great website. I can only hope that someday my children will have the benefit of a math teacher who seems to see right through the rhetoric the way you do.

Christina… please don’t become a statistic. We need head strong, stubborn to a fault teachers who will stand up to the bureaucracy that schools have become. I know it’s not easy by any stretch, but look for parents who get it. We’re out there and we’ll stand up for you when it’s clear that you’re doing what it takes to teach our kids.

Thanks guys… you give parents hope…

on 01 Oct 2007 at 11:10 am9 Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech » Blog Archive » What a teacher blog should be Part 2[…] about page really tells the story. I’m Dan Meyer. Three Four years ago I lucked into a job I love. […]

on 27 Oct 2007 at 5:10 pm10 TaylorHey, Dan. You seem like the ideal person to answer a question I have had for a long time:

Why did I “get” geometry so much more than algebra?

This seems related (but may not be) to a series of “tweets” I was making the other day, which ran generally thusly:

I STILL don’t know all my multiplication tables. Safe to say I’ll never know them all. [Seems like a bunch of rote, boring memorization to me — and something a computer can do just as well (better!)]

But I have been moved almost to tears by lectures delivered by a REAL mathematician, seeing the TRUTH and the purpose and MEANING behind the mathematical questions. If I had known that beauty sooner maybe I’d have memorized that rote crap by now. And even if i hadn’t, aren’t I better off to have seen the mountaintop than not?

I remember my father teaching me “algebra” on the porch at our house one day when I was 7 or 8 — not teaching major formulas, but just showing me how it might be true that you could actually find out the answer to a math problem if you didn’t know all the numbers. The concept of X. Wow. Now THAT was interesting.

I’ve always been interested when a math teacher goes into the “why” of a math question…. and the “how” of figuring it out…. but making me do it 96 times after proving the formula always seemed pointless to me…. just a bunch of “plugging in” to formulas.

So, I guess my question is twofold: why don’t math teachers deal more in theory than they did when I was in school? And does this desire to know more about the theory of math have anything to do with my (relative) enjoyment of geometry?

on 27 Oct 2007 at 6:03 pm11 danThe geometry/algebra predicament in which everyone — absolute everyone who hasn’t made math a career — prefers one or the other can be explained (kinda reductively) by saying that some people deal better with visuals than abstractions.

People who enjoy Geometry tend to enjoy pictures and shapes.

People who enjoy Algebra tend to enjoy logic, puzzles, making both sides of the equation balance, etc.

Let’s be plain that no matter

whichcategory you fall into, dozens upon dozens of rote problems is a mistake. Doesn’t matter the unit, math has so much potential for depth that pounding away at the same nail over and over again isn’t just cruel, it’s a waste.For folks like you who enjoy visuals & abstractions, I can only wholeheartedly recommend a year of calculus, the first time the two play — I mean really

play— together.Just an example:

Next time you’re driving on the highway, look for a second off to your left, and the stuff whizzing past you. Then imagine your

caras the stationery object in this scene and then watch as those fence posts nearby whiz past you while those mountains off in the distance amble slowly by.If you know calculus, you know there are only two variables that matter, the distance of the object (fence post or mountain) from your car and the speed of your car. You can take the

visualand turn it into anequationand it’s basically impossible to look atanything in life the same way ever again.on 28 Oct 2007 at 10:28 am12 TaylorIn some ways, I wish I could go back to school and learn the things I should have learned. It’s funny b/c I was just telling someone the other day that I don’t even know what calculus is… like what it’s supposed to be studying. I regret this.

I remember that I liked the math I did in my physics class. (I think my father had told me at the time that it was largely trig, but again, I don’t know for sure.) I think I liked it for two reasons: 1) like the example you gave above, it was related to a lab, so it made sense, i.e. I was given the chance to see the real point and, 2) he didn’t GIVE the formula, we were supposed to figure it out.

I think that’s what I’m saying…. that for me at least, once the teacher has done the fun part of proving the formula, there’s nothing interesting left to do for me. And that’s how my algebra teachers taught… maybe that’s just the way those teachers were. But I was enthralled during the “prove the formula” part, but after that, the rest was like cleaning up after the party. Except I didn’t even get to go to the party. The party was a 1-man show at the front of the room.

Conveniently, a lot of my Geometry class consisted of writing proofs, which allowed me to use my language skills rather than always screwing up the arithmetic, which I always found tedious.

I think there’s a divide in schools b/w English and math teachers. Your first email (and my first post) to you attest to this. I can’t tell you how many faculty mixers/inservice meetings, etc. I have been to where a math teacher, upon learning that I teach English, has launched into a “thing” about how they always hated writing. I had a math teacher say in a grad school class we were taking together that “It was easy” for me (all the writing required in that class) — but that she was a math teacher, and it was hard for her.

I feel for her. I really do. That’s why we teach, isn’t it? We want to help others see the beauty of that thing we love so much.

But I feel that same way about math. The thing about this is this: my pathetic understanding of all things mathematical aside, I have found in nearly every other area of knowledge that what we call the “disciplines” are more connected than we let on by having everything so separated. I wish we could be more inter-disciplinary. Intuitively, I can see that there’s real truth and beauty in math. I just never knew how to get there (and, in high school, didn’t care.)

Thanks for your thoughtful answer. I appreciate your blog, and stand in awe of a math teacher who’s also able to write. You da man!

on 03 Dec 2007 at 9:30 pm13 ZachDan,

I am Zach.

on 03 Dec 2007 at 9:33 pm14 HeatherDid you hear that Mr. Meyer… He is Zach.

On a serious note. You are a pretty bomb teacher. Which in teenage lingo it means. “You are a very great teacher and we wouldn’t trade you for the world” well me might trade you for the world.. because that’s a pretty big deal. Still, you are a pretty bomb teacher. Lacey says hi.

on 03 Dec 2007 at 9:34 pm15 HeatherP.s. You have a class full of people who know how to find you on your own blog site. Doesn’t that make you uncomfortable? That’s alittle creepy.

on 29 Dec 2007 at 6:34 am16 DanLove the blog name Dan!

How fast is Dan changing?

Or would

fnint(Dan,teaching,Start,end of career,every day) be a more appropriate title? :-)

Looks like you are doing what you need to do to keep on going in this career. If we keep trying to improve in meeting children where they are at, we can’t but help to get better. One thing I’ve learned in the twenty years I’ve been in the teaching game is that any new initiative from the Feds or the State has about a 5 – 8 year life span and in 20 years initiatives go a full circle. Keep trying new things and keep the tools that work. To heck with NCLB. Yes, this too will pass.

One of the best quotes I came across last summer was to remember that we are teaching mathematics to children and not teaching children mathematics. A subtle but important difference.

Heather, If Mr. Meyers did not want you to read this, you would not have found his blog :-)

on 29 Dec 2007 at 4:24 pm17 danMakes me hope you aren’t the only one to pull the meaning of the title.

on 29 Dec 2007 at 9:12 pm18 JackieNope. He’s not alone on that one. I loved it the first time I saw it.

on 29 Dec 2007 at 10:52 pm19 H.I was (and still am) a little puzzled by the title. Why not dDan/dt, or dDan/dTeaching, or for that matter dTeaching/dDan? Or the statement dDan/dt > 0 for all t? Does the “an” stand for some quantity in addition to being part of the name? Maybe it’s a Physics student bias that the derivative should look like a ratio of the infinitesimal quantities involved (we tend to think of these things as fractions, sort of (and of course real mathematicians don’t like that)).

on 30 Dec 2007 at 9:57 am20 RichH, my guess is that since Dan is apparently so doggone tall, his height (i.e., the vertical component, along the “y” axis) must keep changing w/r/t himself, so dy/dan must also be >0.

In a more theoretical way, I’d be more curious what the

secondderivative of any of the above is doing — particularly, is d(Rich’s teaching)/dt not only greater than zero, but is it accelerating, decelerating (there’s a nice engineering term for negative acceleration), or is it just flatline?This could well be the part of the holiday break where I’m now getting too much free time to ruminate needlessly………

on 30 Dec 2007 at 10:02 am21 H.Rich, in that case it should be dy/dDan, no?

I also wondered about the second derivative… Which means too much free time? Or just time to stop procrastinating and getting down to the last bit of grading, I guess.

on 30 Dec 2007 at 1:41 pm22 danYou people are wild. I admit that mathematical fidelity had to share a bench seat with aesthetics, so the consonance of “dee why dan” won out over the mathematically superior “dDan/dTeaching.”

on 30 Dec 2007 at 2:46 pm23 H.Just like you, to protest poetic license for math teachers, too.

on 02 Mar 2008 at 10:14 pm24 HeatherI didn’t know how exactly to send you these pictures with the stop sign for extra credit. sooooo. I am invading your blog yet again. This is Noah and I and a stop sign. Louis is taking the picture. As you can tell, he isn’t the brightest of the bunch. It all came out blurry.

As you can see, Property of santa cruz county.

Just incase the pictures didn’t show up, if the html is disabled on the page the link to those are

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y260/iamount2nothing07/Picture004.jpg

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y260/iamount2nothing07/Picture003.jpg

on 28 May 2008 at 9:49 am25 LoganI ‘stumbled upon’ your blog and couldn’t contain my smile. I am junior in college studying computer science. My high school math teacher played a big role in encouraging me to pursue my interests in the field and helped to show me the mathematics side of computer science. Keep up the great work, and keep loving your job. When you love what you teach your students will notice.

on 05 Jun 2008 at 5:07 pm26 educatorblogI just wanted to thank you for putting time and effort into this blog – I’ve learned a lot from your lesson plans and posts about information design.

on 04 Feb 2009 at 6:17 pm27 create. learn. share. | mrmayo.org[…] I compiled some of the stats from our various projects over 2008 into an annual report as part of Dan Meyer’s Annual Report challenge. I collected as much data as I could on the projects my students […]

on 12 Feb 2010 at 12:45 pm28 El reporte anual de Dan Meyer | ALT1040[…] no es importante quien es Dan Meyer para ponernos a reflexionar sobre el video que acabamos de ver. Al principio puede que pensemos con […]

on 12 Feb 2010 at 1:39 pm29 El reporte anual de Dan Meyer | Como Tu Quieras Production C.A.[…] no es importante quien es Dan Meyer para ponernos a reflexionar sobre el video que acabamos de ver. Al principio puede que pensemos con […]

on 12 Feb 2010 at 2:20 pm30 El reporte anual de Dan Meyer | WebRumbera Noticias[…] no es importante quien es Dan Meyer para ponernos a reflexionar sobre el video que acabamos de ver. Al principio puede que pensemos con […]

on 08 Mar 2010 at 5:29 am31 Thoughts on Assessment 3: Writing the obit on summative assessment « Constructing Meaning[…] Principles for Assessment by Daniel Meyer at […]

on 19 May 2010 at 8:54 am32 The curriculum wars | A Quality Education Blog | Blogs | Loyola University New Orleans[…] month that he has been asked to appear on CNN to talk about curriculum design. On his blog, Meyer describes himself as interested in curriculum design and teacher […]

on 07 Aug 2010 at 3:09 am33 How to Become a Location Independent Blogger[…] glamorous field, to blog about it successfully. It doesn’t matter if you’re a math teacher, an administrative assistant, a real estate agent, a plumber, a chef, an attorney, a paramedic, a […]

on 17 Nov 2010 at 9:05 pm34 Verdient het wiskundecurriculum een makeover? | Passie voor Talent[…] andere filmpje dat ik je wil aanraden, is misschien makkelijker direct toepasbaar in de klas. Dan Meyer heeft zelf van 2004 tot 2010 voor de klas gestaan in de VS en hij legt uit hoe je kinderen echt […]

on 15 Feb 2011 at 2:40 pm35 La diferencia entre comunicar y conectar | Presentástico[…] Dan Meyer es un joven profesor de secundaria apasionado con su trabajo. En el vídeo anterior resume en minuto y medio cómo utiliza tecnologías de Apple de forma inspiradora, didáctica y eficaz para preparar sus clases. […]

on 19 Feb 2011 at 2:58 pm36 Cómo replantear las clases de mates (y algunas presentaciones) | Presentástico[…] que ejemplificaba la diferencia entre comunicar y conectar. Hoy he descubierto que dicho profesor, Dan Meyer, hizo una charla el año pasado en TEDxNYED […]

on 18 Apr 2011 at 10:10 am37 The Mathematics Of Game Shows[…] Dan Meyer. taught high school math between 2004 and 2010 and he is currently studying at Stanford University on a doctoral fellowship shared this presentation on his blog. […]

on 05 Aug 2011 at 3:53 pm38 edu180atl: john burk 8.5.11 | edu180atl[…] the past two days, I have attended a professional development workshop led by Dan Meyer, a math teacher with a problem. Dan’s problem is that he loves math, but his students, like […]

on 04 Oct 2011 at 3:56 pm39 Real World Math (Dan Meyer and stuff) | Lost In Recursion[…] Dan Meyer is a former teacher, now doctoral fellow at Stanford working on curriculum design. You can check out his TED talk, but I’ll summarize. Dan’s trying to recontextualize mathematics by using videos and photos of REAL scenarios – the kind you can actually see. […]

on 27 Oct 2011 at 2:57 pm40 Possibilites of Inquiry Math Curriculum[…] Dan Meyer teaches high school math outside of Santa Cruz, CA, and explores the intersection of math instruction, multimedia, and inquiry-based learning. In this TedxNYED video he talks about today we have powerful tool to create inquiry based math curriculum. Dan’s blog Dy/Dan is powerful. […]

on 16 Feb 2012 at 4:39 am41 Being rigorous at being what? | Zygomatica[…] A perfect metaphor for half my thinking is the study on the fastest lane in the supermarket by Dan Mayer. The following line […]

on 30 Apr 2012 at 8:34 pm42 Struggle With Concepts. Scaffold Projects. | Expat Educator[…] the most famous of the math bloggers, Dan Meyer, poses thee-act plays and mathematical dilemmas. After viewing the first of three acts or a picture […]

on 29 Jun 2012 at 4:54 pm43 Alan Singer: Can Common Core Turn on the Math and Science? « « DediCommDediComm[…] online videos by Dan Meyers, a former high school math teacher based in the San Francisco Bay area. Meyers argues in “Math class needs a makeover” that math classes need to focus on […]

on 29 Jun 2012 at 8:14 pm44 Alan Singer: Can Common Core Turn on the Math and Science? | Screw Cable[…] online videos by Dan Meyers, a former high school math teacher based in the San Francisco Bay area. Meyers argues in “Math class needs a makeover” that math classes need to focus on […]

on 30 Jun 2012 at 5:26 am45 Alan Singer: Can Common Core Turn on the Math and Science? | Gre Math[…] former high school math teacher based in the San Francisco Bay area. Meyers argues in “Math class needs a makeover” that math […]