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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Great math questions ripped from life!

Dan Meyer has recently launched 101questions: an online database of mathematically intriguing images and videos ripped from life. You can join the site to submit THE mathematical question that the image or video evokes.

Each week, Dan picks his "five favorites" from the week's submissions and reveals the questions that members submitted.
So what's the mathematical question that comes to mind from this image, "too good to be true"?
Here's this week's Five Favorites:

  • Too good to be trueScott Keltner. So is it … free … then? I give this image strong odds on provoking a class debate and highlighting some of your students' misconceptions of percent growth.
  • Car ChaseRyan Brown. The current darling of 101questions. (12 questions, no skips, as of this writing.) Notice how the first car smacks into the second, which was hidden off-screen. That's stylish camera work!
  • Muggsy BoguesTony Gumbo. The question, "How much shorter is Muggsy Bogues?" is one thing. "How many different ways can you express that difference?" is another. (eg. Absolute v. relative.) Start with the first. End with the second.
  • First day of schoolJohn Golden. "Is your height linear?" It's a striking visual and the units along the "x-axis" are identical so you have a rare moment to examine the growth of height over time using people in photographs rather than points on a graph.
  • PlinkoMichael Pershan. Yeah, great cut at the end there. Where's the wisdom in putting the biggest pay-out beneath the most likely bucket? Bowen? (Related: this image, taken from this video.)
So here are my questions to all math teachers: 

  • How can you use these images and videos in your classroom?
  • How do these questions help to engage your students in the Standards for Mathematical Practice?

Leave your comments and ideas below.

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