## Friday, February 3, 2012

### Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!!

I was talking with one of my colleagues about how we can improve problem solving skills within our students to encourage higher-order thinking skills. In the past, I've shared with him Dan Meyer's 3 Acts and he was as amazed as I was. Together, we've been working on creating problems for algebra1, 2, and geometry that are set up for this process, and he shared with me a video similar to this one that he showed his students. It's a simple video; there's nothing fancy about the way its made and there is no narration, but the possibilities are endless in the way its interpreted. He used it to illustrate scientific notation. My first thought was to ask the question, 'How many Earth's fit inside Betelguese? How many suns fit inside VY Canis Majoris?' You could relate it to similarity, 3-dimensional space, fractions, or a hundred other topics. Regardless of how I end up using it, I plan on removing the diameters from the video so that my students can do some research to find the information that they think they need to answer their questions.
This video further illustrates to me how many questions can be generated from any picture or video. The phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words' has become more real. I now try to look at my everyday surroundings from a mathematical perspective. I always tell my students that if math didn't exist, nothing else would either, but they always blow me off. Now I'm beginning to gather solid, concrete examples that they can see. I think the way I'm going to approach it from now on is show my students these examples so we can explore them as a class, and then use them to illustrate that math truly is everywhere. If I can get them to believe this, them I'm one step closer to getting them to appreciate everything that happens around them at any given moment.

So, what are your thoughts? What questions come to mind when you see this video?