Dan Meyer: “Creating crisis” as a way to teach. Basically, he’s suggesting (and saying that the Head First books do this really well) that you need to give students a reason to learn what you want to teach. Escalating levels of complexity and crisis in a multi-step problem does tend to be an effective (and common) teaching tool, but it’s nice to put a name to it.
Also, check out Kathy Sierra’s comment #7. “Oh, shit. Oh, cool!” is the official Head First moniker for “creating crisis.” I like it. :)