I began using the Desmos graphing calculator with my students at Maryknoll in 2012 and have LOVED it, but I didn’t really explore the Desmos Classroom Activities in-depth until this year. It all began at our Northshore School District Summer Institute this past August with Dan Meyer when he had us do the Central Park activity. I was hooked.

At a district PD session last week, teachers started off with a quick Desmos graphing calculator overview and learned how to create sliders. Next we explored the iPhone 6s Opening Weekend Sales activity to see an example of a task that was adapted using the Desmos Activity Builder, and we read Dan Meyer’s post, Desmosify Your Worksheet. Then teachers choose a lesson of their own and turned it into a Desmos Classroom Activity. Here are a few examples:

- Graphing in Slope-Intercept Form!
- Absolute Value Graphs
- Conic Section Exploration (this one is mine 🙂 )

Teachers used these activities with students this week and were very happy with the results. One of the reported advantages was that graph windows are preset for students so they could focus on the mathematical concepts being studied rather than getting sidetracked by technical issues.

The sliders also made exploration MUCH easier. In the past, using these lessons with a standard handheld graphing calculator meant that students had to enter several equations to explore the effect a coefficient has on the graph. Now the sliders allow a student to view numerous graphs instantly.

If you haven’t yet explored the Desmos Classroom Activities or tried out the Activity Builder for yourself, I highly encourage you to do so!