Dan Meyer is a high school math teacher in California. He's on a crusade to put the "problems" back in math problems. As he demonstrates in his TEDxNYED lecture (embedded below), modern-day math textbooks scuttle inquiry and analysis in favor of teaching kids rote ways to solve problems—without actually learning anything. "Textbooks are functionally equivalent to turning on Two and a Half Men and calling it a day," Meyer says.
Another part of the problem is that kids don't seem to care about math, an issue that sometimes continues into an adulthood (and, in my opinion, is a crying shame). "I sell a product to a market that doesn't want it, but is forced by law to buy it," Meyer humorously laments." Math makes sense of the world, math is the vocabulary for your own intuition."
In teaching remedial math at his high school in Santa Cruz County, Meyer rewrites state-approved math word problems to obscure information until students think to ask for it. He also adds multimedia, like video, to his lessons to show his kids how math underlies just about everything they observe and do.