Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's the question?

Recently, Dan Meyer issued the #anyqs challenge on his blog. Essentially, he is asking people to consider one photo or one minute of video that tells a compelling mathematical story that results in everyone wondering about the same question. If you find an interesting picture/video, then Tweet it using the "any questions" hashtag (#anyqs) and, to quote Dan, "I can promise you'll get a question from me, at the very least."

That same evening, I was at Michigan State University's Advance Degrees Graduation to watch my step-daughter's boyfriend receive his Ph.D. in Physics. He walked across the stage pretty early, which left me wondering what to do with the rest of my time. I remembered Dan's challenge and began looking through my pictures to see if any were appropriate. None elicited any compelling questions, so I put my phone away and looked down at the scene below me. That is when the question struck me. This is the picture that I sent out:

True to his word, Dan responded with his question:

And then, to my surprise, he threw it open to the Twitterverse:

Needless to say, the rest of my time was preoccupied responding to the many questions that my picture suggested:

Clearly, the picture needs work since so many different questions were asked. And no one came up with the original question I asked myself as I looked down on the throng, "Where's Waldo?" (Just kidding, but I couldn't resist.)

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