Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Today, students had about 90 minutes to work on creating their Des-man. Des-man was the brainchild of Fawn. Desmos then teamed up with Dan Meyer and Christopher Danielson to create a suite of classroom activities, one of them being Des-man. I've done Des-man before, but not with the Desmos classroom. Let me just say, it's awesome!

As the teacher, I could see every students' work in real-time and display it up on the projector for all to see if need be. That's a really slick feature on top of the already amazing Desmos. It's like math euphoria! It was a blast to see students work 90 minutes straight, being as creative as possible with their Des-man (or Des-woman). After three weeks, Desmos became a very familiar tool for students because they used it with tasks like Barbie Bungee, Datelines, Hit the Hoop, Vroom Vroom, Stacking Cups, and more. I'd like to showcase a few creations for you. Enjoy!

Thanks Fawn, Desmos, Dan, and Christopher for a wonderful and creative math experience. Lastly, I want to thank my students. Today, you guys helped each other out, persevered, asked for advice, freely explored, had fun, and wanted to know more about functions, domain, range, circles, sliders, and more!

Desmos is great about asking for feedback. I have some observations and am curious. Maybe I'm missing something, but I noticed some features from the regular desmos calculator missing in the classroom. Maybe these are upcoming features:
Students couldn't duplicate functions. How come?
Students couldn't create (use) tables. How come?
Students couldn't create folders or text boxes. How come?
Students can't share their Des-man (email, link, etc.). How come?
As the teacher, I can't keep the Des-man (functions included) for each student. How come?
As the teacher, I'd love to have access to each student Des-man, especially if I want to send it to that student or share at a later time.
Thanks for listening, Desmos!



  1. Hey Andrew, it looks like we've had similar (amazing) Des-Man experiences! http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/2014/05/desmos-explorations/ I had some of the same feedback questions as well. I think the URL for each Des-Man creation can be shared, but folks can go ahead and change it on you. For example, here's one of my Des-Men whose link I preserved. (I didn't know I could ask students to share their Des-Man URLs when I used the lab with them). Every so often I click on this link and find that folks have messed with it (is this an open invitation to do so, or what?) https://student.desmos.com/desman/student/536d261c0218adcd431feb1c#create I was hoping for an option to make the creation "read-only" after students have finished, so once URLs are shared, the creations are no longer editable. Thanks for posting!

    1. I was hoping for a read-only option as well, at least from the teacher's end. The great thing about the Desmos team is that they listen and take our feedback into consideration. Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

  2. Andrew,

    I noticed that these graphs use parabolas and circles which are equations that my students do not learn in junior high. Do you know of anyone else doing a Des-Man or something similar with only linear equations?

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. For the most part, students won't learn equations for circles in junior high. With CCSS, parabolas have even been scaled back in junior high. However, I see this activity as a chance to test drive some really cool mathematical things on Des-man.
    If kids really want circles on their Des-man, it's a great teaching moment to help them learn how to be resourceful. For example, students might be able to use the internet to look up the equation for a circle. They can ask a buddy how they think they can translate the circle so it moves up/down/left/right. I encourage them to mess around with things in Desmos before they ask me.