Great Classroom Action


Frank Noschese’s Texting While Driving:

How far does your car travel while you drive and one-handedly text “LOL” to your friend? Kids were immediately engaged. They asked questions like “How fast am I driving?” and “How long does it take to text?” I told them to assume whatever speed you wanted, we’d share out later.

Nik Doran’s Mini Feltron Project:

I set them first to the task of collecting information about how many text messages they sent over the course of a few days, and then we jumped into the idea of recording more about yourself over the Christmas holidays. I got on board as well. I anticipated some students would not have collected the data (and was unfortunately not proven wrong) so they get use my super boring data. What I did not anticipate was this.

Liisa Suurtamm & Jessica Drake’s Orangiest Orange Juice:

Although I have tried this problem several times with teachers and students and am not surprised when many of them guess which solution is the “orangiest” — I am still surprised at the variety of strategies that people use to prove this and how rich the discussion is. In this particular class the common theme in the strategies that the students used was the need to make something the “same” in order to compare. Some adjusted their ratios to find the amount of water needed for 1 cup of orange juice, others turned everything into percents so that they “were all out of 100″ and it would be easier to compare, some drew circle graphs so that their “whole” looked the same. What was nice is that many students recognized this similarity in their solutions even though they looked quite different.

Mr. Owen’s Contagion:

Generalize it! We then discussed a general form for the equation. They needed to make a connection between the R-0 number from the video and the multiplier they used to generate their charts. As soon as I brought up the question, they noticed that it was just (1 + R). At this point, my head almost exploded from awesomeness.

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. Christine Lenghaus

    February 13, 2013 - 2:04 pm -

    I also show my students my internet meter on my phone (shows number of bytes used and a % over the period of a month) and ask them to work out what my quota is for the month from this data.
    They then get out their phones and work out what theirs should be!

  2. Thank you! I’m doing a Graduate class for teachers tonight, and one of the topics is Student Understanding. My philosophy is rigor, relevance, and relationships, and your post today is PERFECT.