dy/dan Three act math
These materials are based around the idea of mathematical story-telling, something that the resources’ author describes as ‘The Three Acts of a Mathematical Story’.
This is where the story is introduced, using as few words as possible, and in a way that will hook students into wanting to find out the answer. In the first act, the aim is to impose as few demands on the students as possible in terms of either language or mathematics. A problem is posed through the use of a short video or a photograph. Students give two estimates of the answer to the problem; one that is an over estimate, the other an under estimate.
During Act Two students assess what information they have, and the mathematical tools available to them. In response to questions from students, additional information is given. Examples include a photograph showing key dimensions of a situation, a video with a timer, a photograph showing a route between two points. Students then work to refine their answers.
The third act builds on the hard work of the second act and the motivation of act one. Conflict is resolved by showing a solution to a problem, and in some instances setting up a sequel. At this stage the solution is shown either in the form of a video or a photograph.
Each resource employs whichever of the ‘acts’ are necessary to accomplish telling the mathematical story.