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Stealing Dan Meyer’s stuff

August 31, 2010

I often fantasize about teaching math. I think I would have a fabulous time just tossing out the greatest hits from bloggers like Dan Meyer, Sam Shah, Kate Nowack, and all those who keep my twitter feed going. In reality, I know it would be a crazy struggle, but I find their work truly inspiring, which is why it’s great when a math teacher throws out a tidbit or two that can be transformed into a great physics discussion.

Enter the boat in the river problem.  My honors kids are just finishing the Constant Velocity Particle Model, and so why not test it out on Dan and his 3 clones. I think my students are just starting to see that every day is going to be just a bit different in this class, so they really didn’t ask too many questions when we kicked things off with the video of the 4 ascending/descending Dans. Actually, one of then quickly pointed to how ingenious it was for Dan to use the music as the perfect metronome for his pace.

And so in classic WCYDWT style, we got to work on this problem. By the time they really started working to apply the ideas they’d learn from the CVPM to Dan’s motion, a couple were buzzing “7 inches per step times 33 steps per flight!” and I think the were watching the final seconds of Dan’s climb to the top of the down escalator like it was the DVD logo in The Office.

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