Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Three Act Math Tasks

Who hasn't seen Dan Meyer's video on how long it will take to fill this tank?

I have, but I did not know anything about Three Act Math Tasks until I went to a workshop this past Friday called "Good Ideas in Teaching Pre-Calculus and..." which has been put on by my former math professor at Rutgers University for the last 30 years.

Growing up in NJ and now living in South Florida for the last 21 years, I have lost a LOT of my NJ accent. I no know longer say "warter," as in "how much warter fills the tank above?" but I still refuse to call the fruit of the same color "oar-ange" (I prefer "are-ange").

The woman who gave the "tawk" on Three Act Math Tasks had such a thick accent, I giggled at the sound of my former self saying "Three Ayct Mayth Taysk," which she said over and over again. But I digress.

She posed this question, which she said was from the Discovering Geometry book that I adore:
and said, instead of posing this question, she directed us to Dan's 100 questions website, where we watched this video (click on the former link to get to it.)

All I have to say is: game changer. This is very cool, and I will definitely be using these tasks in the future. Rather than give students a problem to try as part of their homework, show them a video, ask them to ask the question, figure out what they need for the solution, and then show the solution.

Someone in the class also mentioned that some tasks can also be found at I looked at his site and remembered happening upon it before. Today, his blog happened to come up as a suggested one in an email by Bloglovin'. I went to follow him on twitter...I already had! 
To me, these tasks previously would have been a 5 act math task, because I would have had to think of the task, film myself doing it, and then apply the 3 act math task. But it's already done for you...and here is the spreadsheet link of all of the ones out there, and how they apply to the standards. It's amazing how much is out there! Look how many people are on it right now, randomly, at 1:54pm:
I hope to use these upon return from spring break. The presenter said she does them about twice a chapter. I'm sure Dan Meyer would say use them more. 

Dan Meyer and Robert Kaplinsky are gurus here that I plan to it weird that both pictures above show Italian food? Now I'm hungry.

Since this blog is also about eating and playing, I wonder if Dan will share his meatball recipe in the comments??

If you haven't seen Dan's Ted Talk, it's called Math Needs a Makeover and I highly recommend it. 

And here is a clip that is also shown over at - How many hot dogs and buns should he buy?

Again more food!

Finally, other sites with math tasks are mathalicious, which I blogged about here, and yummymath...why is everything sounding delicious? Get over to one or all of these four sites to get your kids thinking about some real-life problem solving with purpose. Your kids will buy in faster than you can say "You're from Jersey? What Exit?"


Cory Henwood said...

Great post. I am glad we have another convert to the 3 act math movement. There is so much good stuff out there it is sometimes hard to find what you want when you need it. I've been working on making topical collections of three act math tasks, assessment task and khan academy exercises for teachers to use. Check out the resources by topic at

Dan Meyer said...

"Since this blog is also about eating and playing, I wonder if Dan will share his meatball recipe in the comments??"

Never! Taking the recipe to my grave.