NCTM – Final Day

Beyond Relevance & Real World: Stronger Strategies for Student Engagement

Dan Meyer

April 16th 2016

“Highlighting relevance and making connections to the real worlds are often seen as the most effective strategies for engaging students in difficult mathematics, but both strategies are limited and can fail in crucial ways.  We’ll add strategies to our repertoire, looking at research-based methods for “developing a question”instead.

WHAT A CROWD!   The queue was massive to get into to see Dan speak on the last morning of NCTM Annual.  He was fantastic – funny, totally engaging and very thought provoking.

His main message was

  • ‘developing the question rather than the answer’
  •  turning the maths dial  – (high abstract and formal, low – informal, concrete, intuitive)
  • asking for questions about the question- if you can ask questions about it -it is in your real world
  • ask for wrong answers and best guesses
  • controversy – start a fight!   16  7   9  12   – which one doesn’t belong? If you are able to argue -it is in your real world
  • Delete your text book -or part of the page
  • use technology – duplicate the slide and delete just enough to elicit a wonder
  • makeover strategies – taking the labels away to ask questions.  ( animals and longevity slides)

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Developing Numerical Understanding & Skills: Lessons Learned from Classroom Teaching.

Marilyn Burns


Teaching bridge between Maths and Reading – When teaching reading we want our students to

  • read fluently
  • love reading
  • develop good word attack skills
  • comprehend what they read
  • make predictions about what might come next in a story
  • retell a story in their own words
  • identify what’s important and whats not important in what they read
  • experience shared reading, guided reading, independent reading and read alouds (About Teaching Mathematics, p. 119-121) 

Don’t we want the same for Maths???

One on One interviews 

They are standard practice in reading – benchmark/listen to them read – why not maths?  ( I guess we do this well with SENA / TEN and TOWN)

MRI – Maths Reasoning Inventory – free  online assessment tool

Video of interview questions

  1.   16 blocks – Marilyn showed the students what 6 looks like.  “can you show me what the 1 in 16 looks like.
  2. 7+8
  3. 100-3
  4. 100-98

Students who self correct show deeper understanding

  1. 100-98
  2. 120-50
  3. 41-23
  4. 50-12

More info on –

Number Talks

  • Develop new understanding
  • Provide practice with computation
  • Build flexibility
  • Cement or extend ideas
  • Support the mathematical practices
  • write about your thinking

Instructional Strategies 

Do the Math

Using the book  Out for the Count

 61DuiEKXTKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_   Using stuffed animals which have a cost- easy to differentiate

Choose 2 / 3/ 4  animals – how much do they cost? Use equations, use an open number line, differentiate the costs for various levels , spend exactly $100.  Gives students control and choice

“Our teaching goal it not to cover the standards but to uncover them.”


Closing the conference

Keynote – Hill Harper

The Future: The Energised Educator

Hill Harper – Award-winning actor, best selling author, and philanthropist.  harper starred on the CBS TV drama CSI: NY, Covert Affairs and Limitless.  He is the author and founder of Manifest your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs.

Closing by outgoing NCTM President – Diane Briars





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