Ted Talk Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover


In the video above Dan Meyer talks about how math needs an upgrade. I found his video interesting and very true. I remember the days when I just sat in math class working on word problems the teacher projected from the book. As she walked through them all I had to do was memorize the order in how she did them and know what formula worked for what kind of problems. When it came to studying I didn’t once practice. I simply memorized the formulas.

I had no idea in what real life settings I’d use these skills and in the cases that there was a word problem that told you it never seemed realistic. We never talked or discussed anything. We simply just watched and imitated. No wonder so many of my classmates were always falling asleep in class!

I love Dan’s idea of how to approach teaching math. He takes away all the steps and information the text provides. He makes his students look at a real life situation and talk about how they might figure out the answer. In this way he engages the students and can slowly provide them the numbers need to plug into a formula. His students now know the WHY of the formula, not just the HOW. I couldn’t have told you why a formula was laid out the way it was. I could only show you how to plug in numbers.

Dan’s approach is much more engaging and realistic. Students aren’t stuck thinking about abstract ideas they are physically seeing and working with real objects to figure out the answer. Now the “When am I ever going to need this” question has gone bye-bye!