Pause and rewind this until you get it

Watch this video. Every time you feel you are confused, just pause and rewind the video and rewatch it. Do this until the video makes sense.


Can’t do it can you? It doesn’t matter how much you pause and rewind a video, if it doesn’t make any sense to you, watching it again isn’t going to suddenly change the video so it makes sense.

One critical job of the teacher is to find out where students are, and help them at that stage. Explanations that don’t make any sense aren’t particularly helpful. In fact, since our goal is to help students learn the mathematics, and not just the words that represent the mathematics, explanations may not be helpful at all.




  • Thanks David! Always great to revisit the Turbo Encapulator, especially within the context you have given it.

    I loved the Turbo Encapulator so much I used to use a short clip of it at back to school night with the parents, right before I had them use their bodies to try and match distance vs. time graphs using motion detectors.

    I’ve also used the “Montillation of Traxoline” with students (and parents and teachers) the first week of school, in an attempt to help them ‘unlearn’ what they’ve learned about learning.

    What’s your take on this: District math specialist just sent us a few pages of vocabulary words that align with the state test/standards. Apparently the thought is our students are getting questions wrong because of the vocab only, but that sure seems like an oversimplified answer to me. We’re being asked to really ‘push vocabulary’ hard and I’m wanting to push back on that. Any thoughts?!

  • David Wees wrote:

    It saddens me when educators focus on the vocabulary words that represent the meaning over the meaning itself. Use the vocabulary words, fine, but never divorced from what they mean. Teach the concepts first, and then introduce words that mean those concepts, and students will be much more likely to remember the words because they’ll have an intellectual need for them.

  • If that is how it is spelt.

    I have watched a number of didactic type math videos lately and understanding apart it is highly likely that most of the audience will be asleep long before the end.

    Regarding the first comment (above) I am puzzled by the need to a) invent new jargon, and b) to fill several pages with it. I guess it wont be long before we have trigons and quadrigons.

    I read the CCSS math document and they are not to blame for this.

  • David Wees wrote:

    I think Adam’s point is that he has used that document before to explain why just learning the words is insufficient, and why math and science teachers, especially, should do other activities in class besides just “explain the math and/or science.”

  • What a great example! Added it to the Metaphors for Mathematics collection:

  • Sydney wrote:

    Hello Mr. Wees,

        I feel like this was a good example to post in your blog. Many people think it is only one way to teach something for others to understand it. This clearly shows that this video is a bit hard for some to understand. Lecturing is not always a big help to some people. People learn many different ways whether it’s hands on, listening to an audio, visual, or just plain lecturing.

  • gives the history of this spoof, which doesn’t detract from its impact, and the point you are making.

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