Thursday 19 October 2017

Using Desmos Activity Builder in Unconventional Ways

I love how Desmos Activity Builder has given students the opportunity to discover many concepts in mathematics at their own pace. A well designed activity will get them to predict, test and validate their ideas, helping misconceptions come to the surface along the way. That light bulb moment when you hear your students exclaim "Oh, I get it!" is amazing. The activities on are all fantastic, however I thought I would share a few less conventional ways of using Activity Builder.


I was helping create a test recently and wanted to include some "student" work for my students to analyze. To accomplish this I create an activity with a graph screen and then a sketch screen. Here was f(x):

And here is "Martha's" graph of the reciprocal of f(x):

Using the sketch feature to create work for students to discuss is quick and easy. It really helped me see what relationships they understood. 


If students are creating their own graphs you can collect them into one activity to allow you to discuss or show them off more efficiently.

If you add a graph screen to a new activity you can paste the URl into the first line of the graph screen and that entire graph page will be loaded.

Paste a link like this: as shown below.

You can then preview the activity to see each graph in turn.


Although you can make them part of a larger activity, both Card Sorts and Marbleslides can be stand-alone activities. These are options under the Labs tab. (You may have to turn this option on - I'm not sure if this is still required.)

You could create a card sort as a warm-up or exit ticket. Assuming all students have access to technology, they can complete one in a very short amount of time and you get really quick feedback (see green/red below).

Marbleslide challenges can be used at all levels of graphing and are delightful! Sean Sweeney has posted 36 Marbleslide challenges here. I will stop on that note so that you can go try them out yourself. This is the one that I am currently working on, from Set 14:

From the #MTBoS...
Annie Forest shares ways she uses Desmos with primary students here.

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