Unlocking Curiosity Workshop

Part 1

What is this workshop about? What was a key factor in my classroom transformation?

Part 2

Experience a 3 Act Math lesson as a student!

Assignment 1

What was Act 1, 2, and 3 of the Stacking Cups lesson?

Part 3

Why should we use 3 Act Math? When is the best time to use it? Do we have time to use it?

Assignment 2

Choose a grade level to explore my favorite 3 Act lessons, and take note of your favorite lesson because we’ll use it later in the workshop!

Part 4

What are important practices for getting the most out of every 3 Act lesson?

Assignment 3

Plan your favorite 3 Act lesson from Assignment 2 with the 5 Practices. Use the template document as your guide and feel free to reference my planning for Stacking Cups.

Part 5

Do we really need to fully plan with the 5 Practices every time? What’s next in this workshop?

Step 1

Watch Robert Kaplinsky uncover a common issue.

Step 2

Watch from 4:28 to 7:29 in this video to see Dan Meyer‘s solution.

Step 3

How can we apply Dan’s philosophy to textbook problems, vocabulary, and worksheets?

Assignment 4

Find a textbook problem, vocabulary word, or worksheet and adapt it based on what we saw in Part 5. If you need sample problems to use, feel free to use these.

Part 6

How can we create an intellectual need for math?

Check out another headache from Dan Meyer.

Assignment 5

Choose a concept from your grade level and create a headache for it. Check out Dan’s Google Doc for inspiration!

Part 7

What is the easiest way to unlock curiosity every single day?

Part 8

What was one of the two most important changes I ever made? What are some foundational pieces to teaching with groups?

Part 9

Experience an everyday lesson as a student!

Part 10 – Learning Strategies

Let’s go into more detail about the strategies that were displayed in Part 9.

Quick Write / Silent Work Time

Although we work in groups all class, it’s still important to provide independent work time. Therefore, look for spots in your lesson to integrate independent work and/or quick writes even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Full Release Group Work

It’s okay to fully release groups to work for extended periods of time without much structure. However, I usually prefer to limit these moments to 15 minutes or less. Students may reach their self-leadership limits and need structure once again.

Part 11

What was the planning behind the modeled lesson in Part 9? How do we know when to use each learning strategy from Part 10?

Assignment 6

Chunk a lesson from your curriculum! Use a marker to put a box around each chunk and make sure to write which learning strategy you’ll use in each one.

Part 12

What are my go-to activities for getting groups talking and mixing up daily routines?

Part 13

Make sure you have a pencil, 4 different colored markers, and you print the handouts.

Part 14

Where have we gone and what comes next?

10 thoughts on “Unlocking Curiosity Workshop

  1. Thank you for this course! I found it extremely interesting and engaging. Despite being an elementary educator there are a lot of connections to be made. I’d love to learn more about breaking down word problems down to an essential question that sparks inquiry and curiosity. What resources do you recommend for that? It doesn’t come easily for me.

  2. Hi Dane,
    Preparing for the new school year and watching this beautiful workshop. Went through half already, can’t wait to watch the rest and implement it in my every day classroom! I have one question, what do you use to create your videos?
    Thank you for sharing your work and discoveries!

    1. Hey Nathan! Thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it and am glad to hear it’s been useful.

      I use a combo of Adobe products to make the videos; After Effects for animation, Audition for audio, and Illustrator for some graphics.

      Hope you have a great school year!

      1. Thank you Dane for you quick reply, really enjoying them and thinking about creating my own videos.
        All the best,

  3. Hello Dane, I’ve been following your website since last year and then I saw this videos and I have to thank you for your work, I think it’s amazing.
    I have problems with timing, classes here at my school are 45 minutes long and I don’t have time for everything I’d love to do in each session :S but I try to include some of your tips.
    I also have a lot of kids with different learning problems, can I ask you, if you do, how do you manage to include them in your groups so that they really participate? I have some with real problems to follow the contents of their course.
    Again thanks a lot

    1. Hey Elena thank you for the encouraging feedback! I really appreciate it.

      The curriculum on this site is based on 50 minute classes, so if you want to see how the pacing worked for me during individual lessons, here are the links:

      Algebra 1


      Great question about students with learning disabilities! I’m by no means an expert, but here is a resource with quite a few strategies.


      I will say that switching to full time groups improved the performance of all my students including SPED students. So, overall, grouping seemed to help. It was definitely challenging at times though. Here are some thoughts:

      –Make sure to check their accommodations first. Many of my students had requirements to sit in certain parts of the room. Therefore, I made sure whatever group they were in was in this location in the room.

      –In the pods of four, two of the desks faced the front of the room, and two faced sideways. I made sure students with disabilities faced the front of the room.

      –In general, I keep an eye out for students who work well with my SPED students. Then, I make sure to keep these students together in groups. This may take trial and error, but there’s no shame in changing groups a few times until you find a good combination. Some of my classes needed a few changes before getting it right, and some classes gelled quickly. In general, I like to switch groups about once every 9 weeks, but if things are going really well, I may keep them in the same groups for longer periods of time. I’d say do what feels right in your judgment.

      –Have private conversations with these students and their guardians to see what works best for them. One of my students was really struggling and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, I talked to his mom, and she told me he struggles whenever he is directly facing another student. It makes him anxious. Therefore, in our pods of four, I put him in a desk that was in a group but not facing directly into another student’s eyes.

      Overall, it’s probably more of a feel thing, so you’ll have to find what works for you. It’s definitely not an easy, smooth process, but I found that the pros outweighed the cons.

      Hope that helps!

  4. I wanted to say thank you! I love how what you do makes sense and will increase a students understanding and enjoyment of math class. I teach a full class of students with LD’s and am going to give this a try as well as your grading system. I appreciate how you have shared your journey and shared what you have learned from others in a comprehensive system. Thank you for taking the time to put it together and to share it widely and freely!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Christina! I really appreciate it! I’m glad the workshop has been useful, and I hope it goes well for you this year. I’d love to hear about it in the future!

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