Thanks to Kevin for finding this video.
I think what Dan Meyer is saying in this video is pretty obvious; however, what he's asking for can only be implemented in a perfect world without the constraints that exist today in the classroom. The Department of Education administers state exams which require students to cover X standards in Y school days, thereby limiting the amount of time students can spend messing around with fun concepts such as surface area, volume, etc. Given the sheer amount of "stuff" students are required to know by the end of the year, teachers usually (emphasis on usually) try to cram as much curriculum as possible while simultaneously trying to make it as fun/hands-on as possible. That all goes out the window though if they're behind schedule. God forbid we get behind schedule.
With less than forty school days left before the Integrated Algebra Regents, I am beginning to feel this pressure and it's coming out of nowhere. But why? I'm not getting flak from my principal, so it's really just coming from my own worries. I know the Algebra Regents exam is too broad, random, and stupid. I also know my students don't have enough time to learn every single thing on this test. It's a big gamble.
So who randomly decided that all 9th graders need know how to make a box-and-whisker plot? If I could skip that and spend more time measuring things, making discoveries and forcing students to back into an answer like a real-world problem, they may actually want to come to class out of their own will.