Myriad Prompts!

When I opened up ActivePrompt (real name TBD) last week I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I thought it’d be really useful for prompts like the one I showed in the video.  “Where do you think [x] is?”

A bunch of people thought similarly:


Where do you think the lines intersect?

Where should the cafeteria go to be equally far away from all of the schools?

Where’s South Dakota?


I was surprised by some really different tacks, though!

Spot the mistake on this test!

Which part is the prettiest? Ugliest? Which part represents the government?

This is one of my favorites, and most different from what I had in mind:

Cooperate with classmates while watching the overhead projector with all the dots on it, and create two parallel lines. Then, create a star shape.

On this grid the students will have to invent a way to communicate with each other about shapes, relative distances, etc.  All of their dots are totally anonymous.  This is a community building activity as much as it is a math lesson, and vice versa!

The follow up challenge is “create a star shape!”  Holy moly – I’d love to see that class.

Multiple choice – which set of coins come next?

Whoa, TIME: where’s the next dot going to be? I love this one

When the laser bounces off this mirror, where on the wall will it be? I bet you get a great spread of guesses here



I’m so pleased to see such a diversity of uses already – I honestly never expected them.  This is all totally open source – you can see all of the code at and I will happily accept offers to help.  A few people have already started playing with it, but you can see there are a few active issues – it doesn’t work on the iPad, apparently, and when the picture is too big it gets a little messed up.

Keep ’em coming, and let me know if you want to help – I’ll probably keep working on the code, because it’s fun, but I’m really eager to help YOU work on the code, because realistically we can get a lot more done together.

Have fun, and if you use this in your class, please post back here to tell us how it goes!

Engage your students with an interactive photo

Dan Meyer emphasizes that students should be abstracting in math class.  When we present a formula and then talk about a situation in which it would be useful, we’ve done all the abstracting.  Instead, Dan suggests, let’s just give the students a situation and ask an interesting question about it.  He’s collected a bunch of interesting photos and videos at – check it out!

I wanted to help teachers get this done.  Dave Major made a neat proof of concept for some full lessons, but I shot for just the opener.  You can use this new mini-app to get your class started, and then the rest of the structure is up to you and your teaching skills.

If you have any programming chops, or if you want to get some for yourself, please check out the source code from github and make improvements.  I have a lot of ideas for what this could become, and I want to help you make it better.  This is not connected to ActiveGrade in any way (except the temporary name) so I won’t be able to dedicate the time it (might) deserve.  Please help!

Go here for the app: .  Warning: I expect it to work. I haven’t tested it. Have a backup plan in class.  Warning 2: There is no security whatsoever in the app.  Anyone can delete everything at any time.  Probably no one will.

Go here to help make it better: .  Even if you have no tech skills, you can help with design, ideas, or by coming up with a good name!