Friday Fave for March 2

The Friday Fave—like the rest of the Desmos team—is excited about supporting math classrooms as social and creative spaces. One of our favorite tools for doing so is Challenge Creator; in which students build challenges, which go into a class gallery for their classmates to solve.


When we built Challenge Creator, we expected that students would be motivated to work on tasks their peers had designed. We also expected that they would be fired up to think hard about designing challenging tasks for their classmates. What we didn’t expect—but which turns out to be true—is that we can count on students to make a wide range of mathematically important examples.

For example, in our classroom testing we found that the small sample below is typical of a dashboard in Land the Plane, where you need to write an equation that describes a flight path for the plane to send it down the middle of the runway.


Students make challenges with positive and negative slopes, with points that are on and off the axes, and they make challenges with horizontal and vertical runways.

Knowing that students consistently vary the task in these ways means we at Desmos can build a shorter activity. We don’t need to build every important variation into the activity because the kids will do that! And then they’ll eagerly work on these challenges because their classmates designed them.

Social, creative mathematics isn’t just more engaging; it can also be more challenging and rich. That’s why Challenge Creator—and two activities with Challenge Creator built in—are this week’s Friday Fave. Go give Land the Plane and Pomegraphit a spin, and let us know what challenges your students dream up for each other!

And don’t forget another tool for social and creative mathematical work: Polygraph. Here are two of the Fave’s fave Polygraphs (but don’t limit yourself to these; we’ve got dozens of them!):

Polygraph: Hexagons

Polygraph: Parabolas