This past week we asked the Desmos fellows to share a favorite Desmos activity
and to tell why it worked for their class and how it helped students learn
mathematics. The group generated a great list of activities and ideas, three
of which we’ll highlight below.
Desmos can help students explore concepts visually in a low risk environment. They can test out theories and adjust their current model of thinking accordingly. In Loco for Loci! we start by asking students to drag the green point in a graph so that it is four units from the blue point. Then we ask student to predict what it would look like if all of their classmates dragged the green point four units from the blue point. The teacher reveals the relationship by sharing the class overlay of all points.
Dylan Kane shares that “Students got to play with some points and make predictions, and I don’t know that a ton of learning happened in that first stage, but they had the chance to get some practice thinking about what a locus is (even if they didn’t have that language) as well as make predictions (most of which lacked precision). Then, at the end, we looked back at students’ work as a class and had a chance to formalize a definition of locus, as well as understand why different prompts resulted in different mathematical objects.”
Kathy Henderson shares that “One of the most valuable outcomes of a good Desmos activity is when the activity allows students to recognize misconceptions of a topic and then allows class discussion of those misunderstandings.” Match My Parabola supports discussion by allowing students to explore the various forms of a parabola followed by an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned using various strategies to justify their thinking.
Connecting Representations and Visual Feedback
Neel Chugh shared that Game, Set, Flat “allows students to see the connections between geometric sequences and exponential functions really well. It also gives the the opportunity to conjecture and test out different ideas supported by great animation.”
How has Desmos helped your students learn mathematics? Let us know on Twitter