|Wooden Chest / Brenda Clarke / CC BY 2.0|
Do you know the formula for the volume of a rectangular prism? As a mathematics teacher I was not concerned with my students’ memorizing the formula because we could just figure it out when we needed it. But it has been a few years (OK… it’s been a long time!) since I taught volume in my classroom. So, I decided to check out a video that I found on Twitter. The video was created by Kyle Pearce, a mathematics teacher in Ontario.
Pearce uses Keynote presentation software with animations to illustrate why the volume of a rectangular prism is determined with the formula V = lwh. His use of animations is not fluff but instead it enhances the explanation. The result is a video that is professional in style, simple to follow, and—most importantly—effective in helping students to understand the concept.
I explored his site a bit and then followed a link to his video about the volume of a cylinder. It’s interesting and useful… just as the first video is. While there I found a link to Dan Meyer’s Hot Coffee 3 Act Math Task. This task is interesting to me… and it would be interesting to students. Is it a word problem? Yes. But this task is real. And it will seem so to students.
|It's Easy As... / Mike Kniec / CC BY 2.0|
I definitely needed to learn more about 3 Act Math Tasks, so I visited Meyer’s website to look for a good explanation of 3 Act Math Tasks. I found his description of The Three Acts of a Mathematical Story. And Teaching with Three-Act Tasks… with links to all three acts. He also publishes his task bank of 3 Act Math Tasks on his site. Lots of good resources to learn about and to use while you start experimenting with creating your own 3 Act Math Tasks.
When I returned to Pearce’s site I discovered that he also shares a list of 3 Act Tasks that he has created.
So what lessons can be learned from my explorations at these sites?
- Rich teaching resources can be found through Twitter,
- Many members of your PLN may freely share excellent ideas and resources,
- Storytelling can be effectively used in classrooms,
- Keynote (and other presentation software) can be used to create helpful videos for students, and--most importantly--
- The lesson plans from Pearce and Mayer are designed for mathematics classrooms; however, these ideas are not limited to mathematics education. The 3 Act Math Tasks storytelling strategy could be effectively used in history, language arts, science, and many other classes.
- And, of course, Twitter, your PLN, and presentation software can all be used well in other classes.
Have you tried creating a 3 Act History Task or a 3 Act Language Arts Task? Or something similar in your classroom?
Resources from this post...