Announcing the Desmos Middle School Math Pilot

At Desmos, we love doing math on paper and we have also seen the unique power of computers to provoke wonder, enable mathematical creation, and connect ideas together.

Thousands of teachers have experienced that power in our supplemental activities. This coming school year, we’re offering a small set of 7th and 8th grade teachers even more of that power through pilot access to …

our complete middle school curriculum!

It’s part paper, part computer, and full of fantastic learning experiences for middle school math students from start to finish.

Features

We are adapting the widely adopted, highly rated, and openly licensed curriculum authored by Illustrative Mathematics in collaboration with (and published by) Open Up Resources.

There are so many things we love about this curriculum, including its coherent approach to middle school mathematics (no tricks or gimmicks), its mathematical language routines (developed by Stanford University neurolinguists to support emergent bilingual students), its foundation in discussion and problem-solving (students learn by listening, but also by speaking and doing), and its supports for students with disabilities (integrating the framework for Universal Design for Learning).

We have built on what we love and added features that we’re excited to share with you.

Visual Feedback

Students are often told their mathematical ideas are right or wrong—feedback that can be frustrating and unhelpful. Instead, we show students what their ideas mean in context, without judgment, giving them the freedom to revise their thinking and the incentive to build on their earlier ideas.

A student screen from Turtle Time Trials. Students watch an animation of a turtle crossing a beach on the left side of the screen and sketch the turtle's distance from the water over time on the right side of the screen.

Powerful Insights Into Student Learning

Our Activity Dashboard gives teachers quick insights into the areas where their students are succeeding and where they need support. Teachers can then select, sequence, and connect that student thinking using our snapshot tool.

Three student graphs in the teacher dashboard. The teacher clicks the camera icon in the top right of the student graph thumbnail to take a "snapshot" of that student work.

Continuous Improvement

Our researchers anonymize and analyze classroom data on a daily basis, looking for questions that are unclear or lessons that need revision. Then we improve those lessons! Lessons that were great this year will be even better the next, all because our team of thoughtful teachers, engineers, and researchers have created conditions for continuous improvement.

Results

We aren’t just guessing that this will be a fantastic middle school curriculum. We have already piloted it with over 100 teachers in districts across the United States.

The original Open Up Resources / Illustrative Mathematics curriculum received extremely strong reviews in our surveys of teachers and students. With our upgrades, students are even more engaged and learning even more math than ever before:

Student Survey Responses

Student survey responses showing bar graph results for two questions: (1) "These lessons help me learn math", which has a pink bar stopping a little above 40% for "Before (Print)" and a teal bar stopping just below 60% for "After (Desmos)". (2) "I enjoy learning math using these lessons", which has a pink bar stopping a little below 40% for "Before (Print)" and a teal bar stopping a little below 60% for "After (Desmos)".

Likewise, their teachers are enjoying teaching and feeling supported more than ever before.

Teacher Survey Responses

Teacher survey responses showing bar graph results for four questions: (1) "These lessons make teaching enjoyable", which has a pink bar stopping about halfway between 50% and 75% for "Before (Print)" and a teal bar stopping just below 100% for "After (Desmos)". (2) "My students find the lessons engaging", which has a pink bar stopping a little below 50% for "Before (Print)" and a teal bar stopping a little above 75% for "After (Desmos)". (3) "The lessons help my students learn math", which has a pink bar stopping a little above 50% for "Before (Print)" and a teal bar stopping about halfway between 75% and 100% for "After (Desmos)". (4) "The lessons make me a better math teacher", which has a pink bar stopping a just above 50% for "Before (Print)" and a teal bar stopping a about halfway between 75% and 100% for "After (Desmos)".

We have made a strong curriculum even stronger, and we’re excited to share it with you.

Testimonials

We just got our SBAC testing results in from the year and our 8th grade class had the highest growth we’ve seen at our school as well as the highest growth in the district.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think the Desmos lessons allow me to focus on the actual teaching part of my job (including facilitation, monitoring, and coaching) rather than clerical part of my job (creating slides, worksheets, copies).

The lessons allow for immediate feedback on a scale that I can’t individually provide during class. Students are also able to interact with and manipulate math in a number of ways that would be difficult—and expensive!—to emulate in physical space.

How Can I Get Access to This Pilot?

If you think your middle school students or teachers deserve this kind of math upgrade, get in touch with us! We’d love to get you more information and put you on our waitlist.

We are also continuing our work with our incredible partners in assessment and curriculum. As we learn new ways to engage students in learning mathematics through this pilot, we will use those ideas to support our partners and their products. Stay tuned for some news on that front.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements to pilot?

We want to learn how to support teams of teachers across a diverse range of student and teacher populations. We will look for at least two participating teachers per grade in schools of different sizes, supporting student populations with different kinds of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity, taught by teachers with different teaching experiences and different familiarity with technology. For this year, we are only supporting teams of teachers in the United States.

If more teachers qualify for participation in this pilot than we can support, we will select our pilot cohort by lottery.

What support are you offering?

We are offering participating teachers and their coaches an array of in-person and virtual professional learning options. These include webinars and workshops as well as just-in-time lesson support emailed directly to teachers along with other supports we will announce later. Teachers and coaches will also have a designated Desmos coach for all questions.

How much will it cost?

Exact pricing during this pilot will depend on the number of students using the curriculum. Please get in touch!

Are your calculators and existing activities still free?

Yes! Our promise is that we will never charge you for something you’re using for free today. That remains the case even as we introduce new products like this middle school math curriculum.

Can I still license your software?

Yes! We are still licensing our tools and will continue to do so indefinitely. There has never been a better time to partner with us. Our curriculum development has already driven and will continue to drive major improvements in the products we can make available to our partners. Get in touch!

Are you hiring?

Yes! We’re looking for lots of collaborators to help students learn math and love learning math. Check out our careers page.