Des-man: a Desmos Labs Project

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce a new project: Des-man, inspired by @fawnpnguyen’s eponymous blog post. Des-man is an opportunity for students to flex some creative muscles, draw hilarious faces with math, and learn about domain & range in the process.

You can try it here:

A quick step back before diving into the details: a few weeks ago we released our first piece of collaborative content, a joint project with Dan Meyer called “Penny Circle.” Our two realizations:

(1) it’s really freaking difficult to make thoughtful content.

(2) it’s really freaking fun to make thoughtful content.

Designing even small pieces of curriculum surfaces all of the challenges that we love so much – working at the intersection of technology, design, and pedagogy; navigating the fine line between doing too much and not enough, between guiding and pushing, between delighting and distracting. It doesn’t hurt that content development is also a great excuse to work with teachers, our favorite way to spend time.

For all of these reasons, we decided we wanted to do more. After a quick perusal of some of our favorite Desmos lessons on the web, we settled on Des-man as a perfect fit for our second small project.

Des-man first guides students through the process of making domain & range restrictions in Desmos:


Click here to see the sample student view

From there, the prompt is simple: “draw” a face using expressions.

On the other side, every teacher has a dashboard that updates in realtime. Status indicators help identify individuals/groups who are done or stuck. Filters narrow in on just those students who, for example, have experimented with circles or ellipses. One click on any thumbnail opens up a full-screen view of that graph.


Click here to see a sample teacher view of Desman

Des-man is what we at Desmos Labs call a WIP, or Work In Progress. We need your help, and here’s how:

(1) Try it out! Let us know where it shines and where it falls short.

(2) Suggest an idea for another lesson, or just let us know you’d be interested in seeing more from Desmos Labs.

(3) Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else you so desire (Google+? Anyone?)

This is hopefully just the beginning. Ultimately, we want to build out more and more lessons imagined by real teachers. Our dream: that by combining the wisdom of active instructors with the resources of Desmos we’ll be able to create things that far surpass what any of us could build alone.

We hope you’ll join us in making this a reality.

Graph on,

- Eli & Team Desmos

P.S. Special thanks to some of the folks who helped us with this draft of Des-man: @Trianglemancsd, @bobloch, @mbosma8, @LukeSelfwalker, @ddmeyer, and, of course, @fawnpnguyen