Recent Posts

How We Reduced Bias in the Desmos Fellowship Application Process

14 August 2019

At Desmos, we spend the majority of our day thinking about ways to support teachers. To refine our thinking and ground our decisions in the reality of classroom work, we created the Desmos Fellowship, a yearly application-based program from which we select 40 educators to join us for a weekend of conversations and mutual learning at our headquarters in San Francisco (all-expenses paid). There is no obligation beyond that, though many Fellows stay in touch.

Desmos employees are also growing in their awareness of their unconcious biases, particularly their biases towards race and sex. This post describes our efforts in reducing those biases in our Fellowship selection process so we can create a fellowship that represents the diversity of the teachers we want to support.

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Taco Truck

09 August 2019

Dan Meyer’s Taco Cart 3-Act task has long been a favorite among the Desmos teaching faculty. Two people are on a beach and decide to buy lunch from a taco vendor on the nearby boardwalk. The two disagree about the fastest route, so they go their own ways and rendez-vous at the cart. Who gets there first? Is there a faster route than either person takes? What if you had a beach wheelchair? Can a dog do this math? So many great questions present themselves in this context.

Screenshot of introductory image from the Taco Cart task. An overhead photo of a beach with the Taco Cart located on a boardwalk, and Dan and Ben on the beach near the water

This task has several other elements going for it as well:

  • It creates an intellectual need for the Pythagorean Theorem.
  • The exposition is short, focused, and connected to existing student thinking.

In remaking this task in the medium of Activity Builder, we thought hard about what opportunities and constraints came along with this transition.

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