Dan Meyer says he spends his days trying to sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it but is forced by law to buy it—he teaches high school math. He believes math class needs a makeover, and is ready to lead the charge. From a creativity perspective, Dan is a master of problem finding in math. He says:
I want to perplex my students, to put them in a position to wonder a question so intensely they’ll commit to the hard work of getting an answer, whether that’s through modeling, experimenting, reading, taking notes, or listening to an explanation.
The quest for intriguing questions has led to the 101 Questions website, a treasure trove of images and videos, followed by the query, “What’s the first question that comes to your mind?” But those questions are only the beginning. Just as problem-finding is just the start of creative inquiry, Meyer sees opportunities for problem posing as the first act in a 3-act curriculum strategy that grounds mathematical thinking in real world problems. If you’d like to think more about question-centered math instruction, take a look at his blog and associated materials, particularly the archive of 3act materials. Then join the blog conversation. Math that supports creativity is centered in questions. This is one fine place to start.
If you need 11 minutes more inspiration, watch Dan’s TED talk—then stick around for the short cartoon at the end! What other resources do you use when working toward question-focused mathematics?