Dizzy Over Desmos

Have you tried the online calculator Desmos yet?  I get dizzy just playing around on the site.  It’s so incredibly intuitive!  Sometimes with a handheld calculator, I feel like the developers are just trying to “catch you” when you don’t match parentheses, or use the correct negative sign.  “Gotcha!”  An error message appears, and you have to debug your command to find out where you made the mistake.

Not so with Desmos!  Desmos knows what you meant to type, and it even anticipates what you are going to type next.  The first time I wanted to enter a constant into an equation, but didn’t know what it was yet, I intuitively typed “A”.  Desmos knew what I wanted to do!  It automatically brought up a prompt to make a slider for A.  Oh joy of joys!

If you’re interested in a graphing challenge, check out their Daily Desmos Challenges, basic and advanced.  If you have a google account, you can use that to log in to Desmos, otherwise you can open an account with Desmos itself.  Once you have an account, it is very easy to share a graph by simply requesting a link to your graph which you can then share or email.

I took the challenge with a couple of basic linear equations, finding the equation of a line passing through a certain point which is perpendicular to another line.  A bit of snooping around helped me to figure out how shading is used to graph something like a shaded triangle with just one inequality.

I’m sold.  I have started to use Desmos exclusively in class.  The large graphics are much appreciated by the students in the back of the class, and become even clearer in projector mode.  My next thought is to get the students involved in submitting graphs to the daily challenge.

Now I must get back to figuring out the latest challenge….


4 thoughts on “Dizzy Over Desmos

  1. Thanks for sharing. I have not checked out the Desmos site as I teach lower level math. Although it is something I will pass onto some other teachers and my daughter who is in college. You made it sound fun and do-able I may brave it and try it out.

  2. As an Algebra I teacher, I thank you for talking about Desmos in more detail! The questions about perpendicular line through a certain point are always stressful to students because they can’t see it on the board and they simply have to do it by hand or on their own calculator. I’m excited, just like you, to have a clear graphing calculator for the classroom!

    Good luck on mission 4!

  3. Thanks, Sandra! Awesome read to wake up to on a Sunday morning. And if you ever run into Desmos doing something unexpected / counterintuitive, let me know (info [at] desmos.com). “Works every time” is one of our driving goals.

    One note: I wish the Desmos team could take credit for dailydesmos.com, but we’re just huge fans ourselves. Shoutout to @mjfenton, @j_lanier, @danandersod and many more for that wonderful site.

  4. Great review of Desmos! You have noted several features which, in my opinion, have understandably propelled Desmos to the top hit when one googles “graphing calculator.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences so far with this valuable tool.

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