scatterplots Posts

Fit Fights #Desmosify

Welcome to a series of posts sharing how we #Desmosify the curriculum from Open Up Resources/Illustrative Mathematics. You can use this lesson for free, experience it in a live show next week, or sign up to get many more activities just like it in our core middle school curriculum!

Here’s how we #Desmosified an Open Up Resources/IM lesson about fitting lines to data.

Desmosification #1: Collect and connect student creativity.

In the original lesson, students draw a line based on data that are tightly correlated and then loosely correlated. Ideally, they’d notice how the spread of the data makes fitting a line easier and harder.

Two graphs on a paper worksheet.

“Compare [your lines] with a partner’s,” asks the lesson, a question which under really good conditions will result in useful learning. But what if your partner hasn’t drawn a line yet? What if you and your partner have a very similar or very different line? What if you’re learning virtually during a pandemic?!

On Desmos, we ask students to draw the two lines and then … we collect and connect all of them.

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What a Point in a Scatter Plot Means #Desmosify

Several years ago, we realized that in order to have any kind of meaningful impact on a student’s math education, we needed to integrate ourselves into their daily math experience, especially their curriculum. At the same time, Illustrative Mathematics and Open Up Resources released their openly-licensed core middle school math curriculum. We loved the coherence of their curriculum, the way they told middle school mathematics like a story. We then asked 68 teachers how they liked their current curriculum using a tool called a Net Promoter Score, and Illustrative Mathematics was the clear winner.

IM scores low positive NPS. All others score negative.

A negative NPS means more detractors than promoters. Positive means more promoters than detractors. Anything positive is considered good. 50 is considered excellent. Illustrative Mathematics was the only curriculum in our sample with a positive NPS.

Illustrative Mathematics handouts.

But Illustrative Mathematics was built for paper. It includes a few digital applets, but they’re supplementary, not core to the student experience. Meanwhile, at Desmos, we work with paper and computers. We get to decide on the best medium for whatever mathematics we’d like to help students learn.

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