Odds / Ends

  1. Bill McCallum runs a “standard of the week” contest through his Illustrative Math Project, the goal of which is to illustrate what the different Common Core standards look like in student tasks. I submitted a task for 8.4.F, linear modeling, which was accepted. It’s called “Graduation” [pdf].
  2. Key Curriculum Press posted the Ignite talks from CMC-South. I did five minutes on the question, “When will I ever use this in the real world?

2012 Feb 18. Patti Smith used this task in class. Fun feedback:

My students finally understood the meaning of y-intercept as something more than “when it all began”. They also understood slope to mean rate – or how fast they read the names – rather than rise over run!

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. I heard Kristin Umland speak about the Illustrative Mathematics Project at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in early January. I think it has the potential to be an excellent resource for teachers, curriculum developers, and test writers. I was excited to see that you’ve contributed and hope many other bloggers will do so as well.

  2. This is funny becasue I do this with every HS graduation at Olathe East HS (grad class usually around 500 students. What makes it a little bit more fun at my school is that they do some different things. The top 10 graduates and class officers are announce first to get their diplomas’s. Then each row of seated graduates has their names read by a different teacher. Some are fast, others slow. The ones who read fast are usually told to slow down by the photographer who takes a picture of each graduate.

    So, during the graduation, I sit with the graduates and my stop watch and do the timing to make predictions of the finish. I just wish I had saved the grad programs thast I mark up much like you have, but are seperated by speaker.

    Nicely done!

  3. This is clever.

    I still get bugged by the idea that everything has to be used in the “real world.” For most classes, the best and most honest answer to “When Will I Ever Use This In The Real World” is – you probably won’t, and that’s OK.

    We need to be more respectful student’s interests — allow them to pursue what gets them excited and accept that other topics won’t be compelling. The teacher’s job isn’t just about finding (contrived) ways in which a topic may be useful. It’s about bringing to the students the the beauty and interest in each subject.

    Starting Physics with a discussion of significant figures, French with conjugation, or Calculus with epsilon/delta proofs is just asking for trouble.

  4. Thanks, Dan…I’ve gone to IMP to look for examples and didn’t realize they have a contest too. Might have to look at that. (As an aside, I listed you in the blogroll on my brand new blog where I hope to comment on my journey through CCSSM, thanks for the inspiration)