Author: MaryAnn Moore
Content reblogged/summarized from this post and this series of posts by Dan Meyer
With the implementation of the new Utah Mathematics States Standards, many teachers are now looking for better tasks that will help them not only teach the content standards but also the eight mathematical practices. One solution to this pressing need is the use of Three-Act Tasks. This is an outline summary of some of the key ideas from this blog post and this series of posts by Dan Meyer:
"Storytelling gives us a framework for certain mathematical tasks that is both prescription enough to be useful and flexible enough to be usable. Many stories divide into three acts, each of which maps neatly onto these mathematical tasks." Dan Meyer
Act 1: Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible.
Act 2: The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools.
Act 3 and Sequel: Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension.
Curious what a Three-Act Task looks like in action? Check out the video below of Dan Meyer leading a Three-Act Task at a workshop in Cambridge.
Are you ready to try a three-act task and wondering where to start? Where to find good tasks? How long these tasks take? How often you should teach a problem-based lesson? How and where to fit it into a unit plan? Robert Kaplinsky, another problem based learning expert, wrote this blog post to answer these and other frequently asked questions regarding implementing problem based learning tasks.
About the author: MaryAnn Moore (@missnarymm) teaches 8th grade math in Davis School District. She coordinates the UCTM teacher blog and is also a regular contributor to the UCTM teacher blog. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a Utah teacher interested in contributing to this blog.