Thursday, April 7, 2022

Desmos Day of Exploration


I finally made a Desmos activity. It may not seem like that impressive of a feat to most people, but I have started and surrendered so many times. My teacher.desmos account is really a graveyard of whole hearted but half finished attempts. I never really knew whether it was a lack of desire or a lack of skill that prevented me from finishing the task but this week my inspiration to create the vision I had was through the roof and I was determined to make this work. 

And work it did. It was an incredible day. One of those days that feels almost illegal to not document or celebrate.

So cheers, to a completed Desmos activity and an instructional win full of student connections and exploration!

Students have been working with linear, quadratic, and absolute value functions with a focus on transformations from the parent function. Mix in a little systems of equations (graphing only right now) and here we are! I'll be honest, the actual creation of the activity was pretty easy. There are 4 challenges, each challenge with a clear set of requirements for the functions they had to write and a target intersection point. This was SUPER open ended which allowed for some rich comparison conversation and a lot of notice/wonder type whole class and group discussion. 

Teacher Dashboard View:

The really impactful part of this lesson was projecting the teacher dashboard view for students to see. There was such a wide variety of ways students completed each challenge and being able to quickly pull together different subsets of answers was really powerful.

Students were really engaged and motivated to figure out functions for each challenge. Creating the "need" for students to understand and use those transformations was really key. Even some of my more disengaged and less motivated students were finally asking me, "Hey Mrs. Bell, how do I make this thing go to the right? I am too far left." BEAUTIFUL... so let's talk about everything we've learned the last two weeks.... Better late than never! Maybe they just needed an actual reason to move their dang parabolas around finally!

Here are some awesome examples of each challenge and the functions students' created.

Student Work Challenge #1: 

Student Work Challenge #2: 

Student Work Challenge #3: 

Student Work Challenge #4:

Been hesitant to finally create that Desmos activity? Here is your push to do it. New things are hard. After a decade of teaching and plenty of Desmos specific training, I finally did it. Now is always the best time to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and grow as educators!