What can you do with this? #wcydwt

Just over a month ago, Jason Loke (@Jason_Loke) tagged me in the video below and asked me, “What can you do with this?”. It wasn’t the first or last time that Jason had done this, but I thought that I could actually do something with it. I later found out that there was a hashtag for these kind of things – #wcydwt. I finally found some time to sit down and create a lesson from this video (lesson can be downloaded here):

(before scrolling too far down, what can you do with this? Comment at the bottom, I’d love to here what you were thinking!)


Here’s what I did with it:

A common “go-to” when I get a really decent visual cue like this is Dan Meyer’s 3 Act Math model. Dan was even kind enough to include one of my tasks in his blog (blog.mrmeyer.com/category/3acts/). I’ve written a couple of posts about this structure and use it frequently in workshops I run with teachers about Problem Based Learning in Maths.

I’d love to get any advice as to how I can increase student curiosity or harness the inquiry even more with either great questions or other ways to present and sequence the lesson – comment below with any ideas.

Act One

I’ve been particularly focusing on how problems are presented to students. The main reason I have been so conscious of this is because I have had so many wonderfully rich discussions with students about what thoughts a certain image or video can cause to enter their minds. If I can change the way a certain scenario is presented to the students to make them either think more deeply or wonder about a wider range of questions, I will probably going to do everything I can to maximise that opportunity.

So, what I did was only minor, but I cut out the part that told them the Moon was being replaced by planets and cropped out the part that told them what the planets were. My dodgy video editing skills are shown in this act:

For Act One, I tend to follow a pretty systematic process to elicit the thoughts and harness the curiosity of the students. I usually say something like this straight after the video has played, “Before you speak! Write down the first question that comes to your mind.” We would then share the different questions, typing up responses on the screen/board in the class.

I would probably use the following two questions a fair bit to “flesh out” student responses:

  • What do you notice?
  • What interests you?
  • What do you wonder?
  • What is assumed?

Questions that may come from discussions may (hopefully) be:

  • What planets are they?
  • How accurate is the video?
  • Is it possible?
  • Are the planets too big to show on a video?
  • How far away does the video imply the planets are?


Act Two

The main questions I would think are worth investigating to begin with are:

  • Is the video possible?
  • If it is true, how far away do they need to be?

What this causes the students to think about is what else needs to be considered to determine whether the video is possible or not? This encourages students to think about what information is necessary, how accessible that information is, and how they might use it.

As I step further away from being a facilitator of the lesson to coaching from the sidelines, I would use these questions to help guide the students:

  • What information do we need (or have) here?
  • How might we be able to solve this problem?

Then, after some more discussion about what is needed, how they might get it, and what they might do with it, I would either let them look some stuff up, OR show them these images (if they have identified the need for it):



I also have a screenshot of each planet, which can be found here.

Additionally, I would show the video (at the top) with the names of the planets.

If you want to be nice and provide them with the measurements I took from the video, they are:

  • The Moon: 1737 km radius
  • Mars: same size as Moon
  • Venus: 3.5 x bigger
  • Neptune: 11.25 x bigger
  • Uranus: 13.4 x bigger
  • Saturn: 27.6 x bigger
  • Jupiter: 36.6 x bigger


Act Three

Show them the answers. Key questions like this can help students understand their answer(s) at a deeper level:

  • Was your answer similar or the same?
  • What affects the answers given? (accuracy etc.)
  • How can you improve your answer?
  • What have you assumed in your answer / what has the answer given assumed?

Here are my answers (all in kilometres):

Planet Radius (video) Radius (actual)
Mars 1,695 3,390
Venus 6,098 6,052
Neptune 19,522 24,622
Uranus 23,305 25,362
Saturn 48,014 58,232
Jupiter 65,364 69,911
Planet Distance implied Distance it needs to be Difference
Mars 772,485 772,485 386,243
Venus 383,358 383,358 -2,885
Neptune 487,151 487,151 100,909
Uranus 420,340 420,340 34,098
Saturn 468,443 468,443 82,200
Jupiter 413,109 413,109 26,867




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