Once upon a time I helped a friend of mine study some math sections of a test he had coming up. This particular test had seemingly simple word problems that generally assessed the taker's ability to draw out information and find a desired value. For example, a question included finding the total weekly income for someone at an hourly job while taking into account overtime and lunches. Unsurprising to me, my friend had a great deal of difficulty solving these problems that had him frustrated and nearly pulling out his hair. His call for my help was his way of waving the white flag. It didn't shock me because it reminded me of the majority of my own students who either instantly grasp for some quick formula to answer a question or are intimidated altogether by word problems simply because there is text involved with no guideline to a solution.

It is exactly the epidemic that Dan Meyer explains in the above video. The current trend in the structure of math education is one that spoon feeds students formulas and solution manuals to problems that rarely get students to relate to anything let alone think deeply about them. Even most text books are largely systematic and provide hundreds of problems that connect to nothing but a solution reference in the back. What this has produced is characteristics within today's students that Meyer refers to as "viruses" that impede them from becoming true problem solvers. They include:

- Lack of initiative
- Lack of perseverance
- Lack of retention
- Aversion to word problems
- Eagerness to a formula

Thankfully, there are some strategies to change this culture. As Dan Meyer suggests, there are 5 specific ways to combat the above "viruses". They are:

- Use multimedia
- Encourage intuition
- Ask the shortest question
- Let students build the problem
- Be less helpful