Desmos open exploration creations

With the first use of Desmos in my summer algebra and trigonometry course, I opted to end the term with having the students put together their own creation in Desmos. I provided minimal guidance to the students.

I wanted this to be as wide open as possible. I too am still learning all that Desmos can do. I did set up a preliminary marking rubric for the exercise and made this visible in Schoology.


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Criteria4321
Presentation mechanics:Presentor delivered clearly, concisely, demonstrated familiarity with the Desmos creation.Exceeds expectations: Well delivered exhibiting preparation and knowledge of their Desmos creation. Spoke clearly and always towards the audience. Meets expectations: Presentor showed evidence of preparation and some familiarity with the Desmos creation. Usually faced the audience. Does not meet expectations: Presentor was only able to vaguely explain their work, sometimes with their back to the audience. Severe does not meet expectations: Little evidence of preparation, unfamiliar with their work, gave the presentation with their back always towards the audience.
Creativity: Showed creativity and originality.Highly creative and originalModerately creative and original.Weakly creative and not very original.No creativity displayed, a basic idea implemented simply, no orginality.
Dynamic: Desmos creation was dynamic and interactive. This can be interpreted either in terms of movable elements or in terms of constructive use of values, variables, and functions such that the creation can easily be altered to accommodate other variable values.Strongly dynamic and interactiveModerately dynamic and interactiveOnly weakly dynamic and interactive, essentially static.No dynamic capabilities, static.
Effort: Showed effort.Desmos project indicates a strong effort was made.Moderate effort was made.Weak effort.Little to no evidence of effort having been made.
Math content: Content was on topic for the course including mathematical concepts from the course.Strongly on topic.Moderately on topic.Weakly on topic, a connection can be deduced but only weaklyLittle to no evidence of content from the course.



I introduced the assignment by showing the class an image of a student from my ethnobotany class in 2010. A class in which I had noted that learning to present was an important skill and capability in their future lives. Even when I said that, I would not have imagined that the student in the image above would be presenting to the Green party at a convention in Berlin a short seven years later. I showed the algebra and trigonometry class the speech in Berlin and then noted that they too might one day be presenting before such a gathering.


The students used the Sharing link capability in Desmos to submit their Desmos creations via an assignment in Schoology. I then opened each creation from Schoology.

Some of the creations were more basic, but still involved some interesting elements. The smile on


Another student attempted a five-pointed star in a set of concentric circles. I then showed the class how a pentagon built using SVG for a homework earlier in the term could be leveraged to get a rotationally symmetric five-pointed star with a radius equal to the innermost concentric circle.


The class used the Online HTML Editor to handle code and automatic dynamically updated display. The editor supports SVG in HTML and makes the coding process fully interactive. I use SVG as a vehicle to demonstrate a practical application of trigonometry.


One presentation in particular caught me by surprise. I think I had at one time stumbled onto the fact that sliders can be "played" but had not remembered this capacity of late, although the "play" icon is sitting there to the left of the slider. Ms. Katsandra Shed was very creative, integrating an image and running music in the background with functions in Desmos animated in rough synch to the music. This took some custom setting of the slider steps. 


A short clip of the creative mash-up in action. I was rather stunned. I had already realized that Desmos enabled a whole approach to learning mathematics, I had not realized that Desmos is a also a dance party machine. And with joy comes the opportunity for pleasure in learning mathematics.

Katsandra setting up for her presentation

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