Desmos Activity Builder


Desmos has been amazing me since I first discovered it three years ago. It has progressed from my primary graphing tool, to using the Desmos Activity Builder as a classroom tool that I use more than once per week with my students. I feel like I have gotten pretty good with using the Activity Builder as a formative assessment tool. I do have a mobile Chromebook lab in my room so it is really easy for me to distribute them to my students. If the Chromebooks are already under the students’ desks, students are on the Desmos activity in less than a minute.

I am able to create a Desmos AB activity in 10-20 minutes that can assess previous skill level on yesterday’s topic or on a new concept that we are going to cover. Watching the Desmos activity on my computer, I can quickly adjust my lesson to cater to the needs of my class. And, I can look back at any previous activity to see what each student did on each screen to assess their level at that time.

One of the tricks to using Desmos AB is to create a way of student self-checking. If you build it correctly, students can enter answers and get instant feedback on their accuracy. There is a built in feature that you can allow students to see three other students’ responses, after they have typed their response. The trick is to know when to allow that option and when the students will abuse this information, by knowing they can get answers (may not be correct) after they “guess”.

Even though I feel I can create a very effect formative assessment tool, I am still not satisfied with my attempts to use Desmos AB to introduce new concepts. I believe they call those “rich tasks”. : ) I will continue to work on that, because this is such an amazing tool!

I am building an electronic file cabinet for my Desmos Activity projects. Feel free to use anything you find there. Here is the link: