The NYC iSchool is a small public highschool in the Soho area of New York City.   Our school has a slightly different model, we offer traditional, core experience classes, like Writing or Chemistry, but each trimester our students also take one intensive, interdisciplinary Module.  Our module classes allow our students to deeply lean a topic in a real-word setting in which they produce a deliverable of sorts to some outside customer or expert.


Digital Math Shorts is a class of 22 students from 9th to 12th grade.  The students started off by analyzing what was going on in their traditional math class and by experimenting with a different approach to math through film and movies.  Using Dan Meyer’s blog as an inspiration, the students worked through mathematical challenges on things from stacking russian dolls, to melting cheese  and explored math in the media by watching clips of movies like Die Hard, Father of the Bride and Journey to the Center of the Earth. We also read articles about the World’s population and crowds like the Halloween Parade in NYC or the Occupy Wall Streeters and discussed the math in those settings.

Students then began developing their own math ideas and plans to present then through a short digital film.   After months of iteration students have finished their final products.   Each product contains a 3-act video, worksheet and user notes for teachers or students to use in their class, along with a short description of the video and the math involved in the activity.


The 3-Act Video is learning in 3 parts.  The first act is a hook designed to peak a students interest and leave them asking a question that can be solved mathematically.  The second act is where the math happens. The student is provided with more information and completes a mathematical task that leads them to an answer to their original question. The third act provides a resolution to the activity by answering the question asked in the first act.

The students have worked very hard on these projects-  enjoy! And let us know what you think!

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