Collaboration on Dan Meyer’s 3 Act Maths supported by Technology

Please join us on this collaborative project.

Note all materials are copyright to Dan Meyer – All of this collaborative work is for non commercial purposes and is for us all to share ideas freely

Are you interested in collaborating in a radical way of approaching maths that hits the highest level of SOLO taxonomy ?


and uses Redefinition of SAMR in order to create a set of FREE shared collaborative resources ?


Than please join us

All too often maths is taught as a set of processes to follow . The traditional maths lesson is to give an example showing how to do it and then they repeat this process on similar problems until they have “learned’ it. However learning is something complex and barely measurable and should not be confused with performance.

Robert Bjork – dissociating learning from performance: 

The key point in this is that if students have ‘learned’ something they will not be thrown if the question format is different to what they have seen before. Word problems trip up many students as they are simply following a set of rules and suddenly they don’t seem to apply leading to panic and failure. We need to try and build resilience and the ability to think.

Dan Meyer in his TED Talk – Maths Class needs a makeover makes this point and describes many of his students as having;

Meyer students lack

The eagerness for a formula that will give a solution without any thinking needed is very common.

Probably the most powerful advice given is to ‘Be less helpful’ This is so difficult for many of us to do, it is embedded in our psyche we help them whenever we can. By being too helpful we can foster dependence and a lack of independence.

meyer what to do?

A recent study found that video gamers could cope with persistent  failure as there was constant feedback coupled with renewed opportunities for success.  This resilience that they show outside the classroom is rarely seen in maths. Could we increase the chances of this by allowing our students to make choices based on intuition, to raise their curiosity and to give instant feedback?

Could the way forward be Dan Meyer’s 3 act maths?  (Thanks to Alex Linklater @mrcalculator for introducing me to this.)

Dan Meyer has created a spreadsheet on which he has listed the Three Acts of many math tasks.

Act One is the video or image of a situation that generates questions that can be answered mathematically.  In Act One the student asks a question and then determines what information is needed to answer the question.

Act Two gives further information that may help answer the question.

Act Three shows a video or image that answers the question.

In this spreadsheet, a common question is posed based on Act One and then Acts Two and Three are based on that question.  There may be other questions posed that this particular Act Two and Three do not answer.  That does not mean that the question is not the right question.  It only means that more research will be needed to find the information that will be needed to ask t he question.  (Taken from  here )

It seems to me that this has huge potential for putting curiosity back in the maths classroom and leading to understanding of modelling in an engaging way that should lead to better learning (and hopefully performance)

The first step is a google doc with Dan Meyers current activities that we can all add to. Access is open to anyone with the link and everyone has editing rights (though please add rather than take away) I have added columns for socrative, Nearpod and Padlet  – If you are an organised person please sort the activities into a useful order.

meyer ssheet

The second step is to explore the best way of documenting and choosing the questions to follow and their estimates – I feel Socrative may be the ideal solution to this . Use SOC#: SOC-1406095  to load edit and improve the Socrative popcorn quiz. Please post your Socrative numbers in the shared google spreadsheet above. Create new columns if needed.

soc popcorn

Nearpod is another option that has the videos embedded – A very first draft is available here  or as a homework here

nearpod popcorn 2

To launch this Nearpod Homework, open this link in your iOS device:nearpod://pin=OGJXE; or launch the Nearpod App and enter PIN: OGJXE in the Student box

This is just to give an idea of what could be done – please copy it , improve it  and add comments and suggestions

Padlet – (used to be wallwisher) allows collaboration and a shared wall is

padlet popcorn

Dont worry if you don’t know how to use the technology , please get in contact for support. This is not about technology, it’s about learning. Please add any comments or suggestions

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