Product Review of Desmos
Desmos is a free graphing and teaching tool for math available on the web as well as on iOS and Android. In addition to plotting equations, classroom activities are available to help learners learn about a variety of math concepts. For example, learners can learn how to transform periodic functions by trying to slide marbles through points on a graph. Or they can plug in their own equation and see what kind of graph pops up; sliders allow learners to adjust values and see what happens. Users can also click directly on the graph to find the coordinates of points of intersection, maxima, and minima.
Desmos encourages learners to practice math skills as well as play with math to express their creativity. Kids can enter an unlimited number of mathematical expressions and instantly see results graphed on the page. A variety of colors and features make it possible to turn graphs into complex and realistic drawings. With a free Desmos account, learners and educators can save graphs to revisit later.
Desmos can be used in a range of different ways. It can be used as a free graphing calculator, saving learners from purchasing a $100 calculator. Teachers can use it to make high-quality images for assessments and presentations. But the classroom activities are where Desmos really stands out. Teachers can use Desmos to help learners connect mathematical concepts to concrete, real-world shapes and pictures. Starting an activity with your learners is easy: Simply have the kids enter the activity code into the website. Prior to assigning an activity, try the student preview.
Teacher moves are listed at the bottom of activities, giving specific ways you can coach your kids while they’re working. Progress can be monitored using the teacher dashboard. Using this information, educators can work specifically with learners one at a time or pause the whole class if most are headed down the wrong path. Desmos can also be a powerful tool in leading math discourse. Use the Snapshot tool to capture specific student responses and sequence them in the best order to drive class conversation.
Desmos takes an inquiry approach to learning math. Learners manipulate different parts of an equation to change the shape of a graph in an effort to meet a goal, such as sliding a marble through stars. Perseverance is encouraged since kids can adjust and try again if the graph doesn’t look quite right. Other tools like ExploreLearning Gizmos also let kids manipulate graphs by changing the equation, but Desmos empowers learners to collaborate with each other. Learners can ask each other questions and try out challenges created by their peers.
Several features make Desmos a standout graphing option for learners with varying math skills. Beginners benefit from the ability to use sliders as substitutes for undefined variables. This way, kids can actually watch the graph move and change shape as they click and drag the variable up and down. A feature that may appeal to more advanced users is the ability to graph tables and inequalities. Tables can be pre-populated with expressions or entered manually, and they let learners graph groups of numbers at the same time.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Learners will have a blast transforming their understanding of expressions into dynamic and colorful pictures and graphs. The easy-to-use interface lets kids jump right in.
Curriculum and Instruction
Learners learn by doing and instantly see changes to their graphs as they manipulate values. The activities allow learners to play and help them figure out how functions are graphed.
Clear directions and tips are provided along the way, sometimes in many languages. Teachers can track individual student’s graphs as they’re working, and then use the Snapshot tool to use student work examples to teach concepts.