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I am interested in collecting/creating a compendium of lesson plans that are essentially just this.

Lesson Plan: Appropriate for a precalc class and an algebra 2 course.

Show the following graph:

enter image description here

Talk to the students. See what's going on in the eye with the triangle? I want you to make a graph in Desmos that does that. And I want the point to be able to move in time like this.. After you have completed this unit's work you can add all the embellishments you'd like. Give it sinusoidal eyebrows. You could turn it into a bicycle. Whatever.

Hand out Rubric: Points for silliness. Points for creativity. Points for mathematical correctness. Blah blah whatever else goes on a rubric.

Tell the students to get laptops and get started. After the students are launched walk the classroom and engage with the students working on it and help the students who may be struggling.

I have many many many many of these. I would like to know if others would like to help to contribute to these. I know Desmos already has a list of activities but these aren't quite what I am looking for. If others would like to contribute I would love to see a big list here. Does anybody else do this? And would they be willing to share their lessons? If you don't do this maybe you would enjoy making one? And then you can add to the list.

An ideal answer would specify the class it's appropriate to and the content that we should be focusing on as the heart of the lesson. Like in the example I gave above: The eye with the triangle is the point of the lesson: It is the skill you want them to master. An answer with a graph so we don't have to click any links is also good.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not sure what the perfect tags are for this one... I do give out hw like this... Not sure the homework tag is correct though... $\endgroup$ – Mason Dec 28 '18 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ This is a cool project of mine I think that MESE might enjoy engaging with if I am wrong we can discuss it on meta. It's one of those big list questions that I am not sure its appropriate. Anyway, I'd prefer to keep comments on appropriateness for meta. $\endgroup$ – Mason Dec 28 '18 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ I’d recommend using real software in place of Desmos, students aren’t going to use this anywhere except your classroom. $\endgroup$ – jfkoehler Dec 29 '18 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ @jfkoehler I disagree: Desmos is commonly used in college math classrooms and is great for students who aren't going into highly technical fields. It would be great if every student should code, but if the goal is understanding the math, coding / fancy software shouldn't be a barrier. $\endgroup$ – Opal E Jun 26 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ @jfkoehler. I strongly disagree. But I think I just disagree with the premise: "Education should be geared towards job placement/pragmatics." If they use it only in my classroom and had meaningful/enjoyable experiences learning mathematics then I would call it success. I think we can do great damage to our students if we focus only on pragmatics and not on the beauty or just the pure exploration of our topic. $\endgroup$ – Mason Jul 24 at 2:44
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Edit (June 2019): I used this final project with minor tweaks again this year. You can find links to some of the output for Spring 2019 - both students' graphs and write-ups - here and here.


I used a Desmos Make-A-Graph prompt for an Algebra 2 class' final project last year. The results were quite good; so, I expect to incorporate at least one similar project this year. Rather than specify graphs to produce, I asked students to pick one or more ideas from the course and engage in the following:

  1. Make a graph that has a playable parameter;

  2. Present on their graph and its mathematics;

  3. Hand in a formal write-up of the project.

I have made a copy of the assignment prompt publicly available here. It contains four sample graphs that I provided for the students.

For examples of some student-pairs' graphs, see here and here and here.

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    $\begingroup$ I thought about presenting this as student-pairs but I worry about students who are mooching off their partner. Your students' graphs are beautiful. $\endgroup$ – Mason Dec 28 '18 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Mason That is a problem with all group work - not one specific to a Desmos project! Norms around fairness when collaborating should be established well before a final project. So: I thought student-pairs worked out well, but I wouldn't use this assignment to introduce group collaboration. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Dec 28 '18 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Cool! I am going to have my students make a rubric based on your prompt and I will have them present at our school's annual JRMF: They just need to decide: How many points goes for the graph? And how many the write-up? etc. They did something similar last year but it had a somewhat looser formulation and your prompt does a great job organizing this. Thanks so much. We will be doing... individual projects this year. $\endgroup$ – Mason Dec 29 '18 at 9:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Mason I look forward to seeing more when they are completed! $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Dec 29 '18 at 15:52

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