Bankshot (I give 3-Act Lessons another try…)

Feel free to read this post, but the video I present at the bottom has since been revised. After you read this post and watch the video, I’d encourage you to read the comments. Then head over to Bankshot 3-Act Revised to check out how I interpreted the feedback.

I recently attended a workshop led by Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) which I found to be incredibly valuable. In the workshop, Mr. Meyer broke down the 3-Act lesson design model that he describes on his blog. He demonstrated it and showed a few of his own examples as well as some of Andrew Stadel’s (@mr_stadel)I have been trying to make sense of the 3-Act model for a while now. I had continually felt confused by a handful of the aspects. I tried to do some activities but found that I was often either giving the students too much information or not nearly enough.

Bottom line, I was confused about the basic point of the 3-Act Model. It is designed in a way that maximizes engagement and allows you to raise the bar while being more inclusive (which is tricky business). The first act, you set the students up to be curious about the situation. You prepare a scenario where a handful of outcomes seem likely and ask the students to choose which of the outcomes they suspect will happen. This is a short amount of time. You get the students curious, you have them choose a camp and then move on.

In act 2, you start leading the students through the mathematical processes that will allow the students to rule out focus on the outcome(s) that seem to be the most supported by the math. This is where the students begin to explore the variables of the situations, determine the appropriate modeling mechanisms and choose which tools they are going to use. This might also be where you lecture them a bit if they are trying to use models that they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.

In act 3, you reveal the answer and the allow the students to make sense of any differences that “real life” has with mathematical modeling.

In an earlier post (the value of face-to-face) I commented on how powerful I find in-person, face-to-face interactions and how the #MTBoS, as powerful as it is, is unable to accommodate for this particular shortcoming. That is only more solidified in my mind now, after seeing how much better I understand the overall approach and value of the 3-Act model having gotten to interact with Mr. Meyer face-to-face, ask him questions, and hear his responses.

So… I decided to try again.

For my first Act I, I decided to go with a geometry/physics topic. Also, the Act II is still in production. So, it probably isn’t quite ready for implementation yet, but I want to see if I am actually making progress in being able to understand, deliver, and (hopefully) create 3-Act lessons.


4 thoughts on “Bankshot (I give 3-Act Lessons another try…)

  1. I like the general idea. Really doesn’t need much info, kids should be able to work out most aspects needed as is, but it does get them thinking. I might suggest that the actual action in the video is too quick. Possibly better would be to have a longer path to follow, or to run it slowed down. Also, maybe to show one shot where you see full conclusion of whether it hits or not, then upgrade to a different shot where the video cuts before the end. Possibly even cutting BEFORE the bounce.

    Obvious extension would be to set up a mini-golf course and have students work out hole-in-one shots. (On paper, or maybe at the course!)

    • Indeed, I’m not totally pleased with the abruptness with which the video ends. I spent some time today getting used to Windows Movie Maker and trying to make sense of all the ways of editing. I tried to get a video with a longer path, but I was having a heck of a time getting a decent video of it.

      I do have a second video that shows the exciting conclusion. I was saving it for Act III.

      Also, I do like the idea of cutting the video before the bounce. That would bring in a different learning goal, I’d think.

      Thank you for the feedback.

  2. Hey Andrew, good meeting you the other day. I’d echo Danny. A prerequisite for having a burning question about a context is to understand that context. In that sense it would help if we were watching in slow motion. It’s all over fairly quickly.

    To make an informed guess about that question, it’s then helpful if we can get a sense of relative distances and the wobbly camera makes that a little tough.

    So there are a few different (small!) things we can do to increase perplexity and a student’s sense of a context.

    I try to give students a fair amount to do in act two so it might be worthwhile to give them several different bankshots in different scenarios to speculate about.

    Just a few thoughts. Love the first draft.

    • I like your ideas. I agree. It seems like setting up the context a bit is very doable and probably worth huge payoffs given the 20 seconds of time it might add to the video.

      Also, the video quality is not the best and I tried a variety of camera/me/student configurations to try to get a decent overhead shot. The rejected takes were far worse than what you are seeing, but I agree that they are far from perfect. I think for this particular video, I will probably try to work with the videos that I have an then, if I get a hang for the presentation, I can try to reshoot the videos down the road a bit.

      There will be a revision coming out soon. I appreciate the feedback.

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