Why I Love Teaching


How many pounds of extra dirt is Stanley going to dig at the end of a full year?

Mr. K:

How many cubic feet of extra dirt is Stanley going to dig at the end of a full year?

Claire Thompson, scooping both of us:

If we had a container whose base was the area of our classroom, how high would all the extra dirt pile up that Stanley shoveled?

Any job that rewards this kind of fine-toothed, detail-oriented nit-picking is fine by me.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. How many bodies could we bury if a body takes x cubic feet and you need y cubic feet to cover it?

    How much bleach?

  2. It’s like: my dirt’s bigger than your dirt!

    Now, what I would like to know is how are you going to explain that you are still talking about feet and cubic feet when most of the rest of us are talking about metres and litres (or meters and liters if you insist!).

    I love Claire’s approach, it gets round the whole “what unit shall we use” thing…

    My answer might be 367.8 buckets full!



  3. (Not related to this post) Do you have any tips/tricks for helping an almost 3rd grader practice addition and subtraction? School starts next week here in NY and we’ve started flashcards again, but it’s a really really painful process. Thanks.