Digital Learning, Leading Math

Desmos Activities for All Ages

I first learned about Desmos at the NCTM conference in 2017. The conference was held in beautiful San Antonio, TX. It seems every third session I went to, someone mentioned Desmos. I had no idea what it was. After hearing about it for the second day in a row, I decided to visit their table in the vendors area.

I was interested in Desmos only slightly because my school was about to roll out our one-to-one initiative. I thought there would probably be some cool activities I could do with Desmos, but assumed I wouldn’t do much on there since I teach Algebra and it’s always about the STAAR EOC. I wanted to make sure my students were proficient with their TI devices, so I basically ignored Desmos until this last month (because testing is over) and I am certainly disappointed I did!

I’ve used three activities as a review for my students. THEY LOVE IT. At a time of year when kids are restless and don’t want to work, I am not having a single behavioral issue as we work through these activities.

  1. Breakout! Quadratic This was the first activity we did. Only about 5 of my students could break out in the 45 minute time period, but everyone finished on their own before the school day was up. Other teachers told me they had to remind kids to stop doing their math work (this is probably the only time in history this has happened).
  2. Breakout! Linear Functions We did this as the second activity, although I wish I had utilized this way back in the first semester. The kids found it easy, although there is an error on page 2.
  3. Breakout! May 2018 This is the last activity we’ve had time to complete as the school year comes to an end. The kids said it was fun and challenging enough. By the time we got to this third one, kids were shouting “I escaped first!” and they were comparing their final scores.

Desmos is extremely user friendly. Click on those links above, then chose “create class code”. Your students will go to student.desmos.com, enter the code generated, and presto! You can even keep track of their progress. So if you plan on tying a grade to their completion of the activity, you can! Even if you close out of your teacher tab, you can click the teacher link again and your class will still be there.

The above activities are called “Breakout!” because they are akin to an escape room, only this is digital. They were created by Mr. Chow Math.

Desmos isn’t limited to older grades. Here’s an activity for 2nd graders about 2D and 3D Shapes!

I also used Desmos for Pre-Calculus during Conics. They created some awesome pictures with what they learned using Desmos. The links below will take you to their beautiful creations:

  1. Butterfly 1
  2. Butterfly 2
  3. Leif’s Blade
  4. Sword Drawing
  5. Landscape
  6. Christmas Tree
  7. Dirtman
  8. Alien Abduction
  9. House + UFO
  10. Sailing

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