Daily Desmos Day 1

When teaching transformations of functions one traditionally spends a significant amount of time sketching various transformations of each function. This has always been a great way to illustrate the “shift” yet a lot can be lost in the amount of time and effort each function takes to sketch. Then I found Desmos.


Desmos can sketch large numbers of functions on the same graph almost instantly. This shortens the time it takes to illustrate the idea of shifting parent functions. Also you could break students into teams to explore different transformations if you are short on time (which most of us are). You can share your graphs by linking to your google account and choosing save.

Desmos Save graph

So here is one resource I’ve used multiple times to explore transformations to functions. Investigating Absolute Value Transformations. I hope that it proves useful to you.


Designing Student-Centered Activities with Desmos

Teaching at a BYOD school brings its own unique set of challenges. The steepest learning curve for me has been finding resources I can use which will work perfectly on any brand of computer. These resources are called “platform independent” because they do not rely on a particular operating system to function effectively. One of my favourite finds is Desmos.


Desmos is a visual, free graphing calculator which requires a newer web browser like Chrome (which can be downloaded here). Desmos elegantly explores all things Coordinate Geometry with such idiot-proof design that it is particularly suited to student-centered activities or for the technologically challenged teacher. Students can explore concepts in an easy yet engaging manner. I have also found it particularly helpful in demonstrating concepts when teaching Functions and elementary Calculus.

You don’t have to take my word for it but it is worth checking out. Head to Desmos and start playing.


There is a growing user and resource base to help you out, including a thorough user guide. To further persuade you to try this resource, I’m going to post a Desmos activity I have designed each Day for the next week. Remember that feedback is appreciated and I would love to hear your own Desmos Activity ideas.

As always, I look forward to learning with you.

The Rite of Passage

Last thursday I underwent another one of the legal “rites of passage” of a new teacher by being observed by my school principal. Although an incredibly stressful situation it turned out to be a highly constructive affair. I received many words of encouragement and constructive criticism from an education veteran who is passionate about the future of education, particularly the role of technology in this future.


One specific encouragement she afforded me was the nature of my entry slips or warm ups. Inspired by the urgings of my twitter friends or “tweeps” I have developed a method of conducting these warm ups using technology, specifically Google forms.


Photo from Keso S:

In a nut shell the students are linked to the google form or type in the customised link into their task bar. Once there, students are prompted to enter their name and then answer a short number of questions based on foundational knowledge of the coming lesson or revision questions from the previous lesson.


I display the responses on the Interactive Whiteboard so students are encouraged by seeing their submission register on the screen. I personally adjust the width of the browser so the students answers remain hidden but their name displays. When students finish they pass their devices to students who forgot to bring/charge theirs.


After the submissions are in, I select “Add-ons – Flubaroo – Grade assessment” and select the answers I entered when I created the form. The add on “grades” the responses which shows instantly trends in answers and students which may need more help during the lesson. If they class under performs in a question sometimes I spend some time to revisit that concept before continuing with the lesson.


Give it a go! It will surprise you how quick and easy this is! Alternately, If I have spooked you with my wordy explanation stay posted for a pictorial or feel free to ask me.