Ideas for Desmos PD Day

On Feb. 16, I will be running a PD session for my department on how to use Desmos effectively in the classroom.

I would say more than half the department is coming with little to no experience with, and limited experience with the calculator.  I am planning on assuming no prior knowledge.  We will have 3 hours together.  Everything is still a work in progress, but I’m hoping to get suggestions and feedback!

So far, here’s the plan:

  1. Give teachers a student code and have them try an activity that is designed as a tutorial for the calculator and graphing pages.  (Try it at code:QVDR.  This is a pretty rough draft, so I’d LOVE your thoughts on what could be added/done differently.  Keep in mind that there will also be some verbal guidance, so it’s not designed to be entirely self-contained.  Either write a comment below, or leave feedback right in the activity as you try it!)
  2. Once the teachers are getting somewhat familiar with Desmos, show them what I can see on the teacher screen as they are working.
  3. Give teachers a link to an “idea pages” activity. (Here’s what I have so far)  This collection of slides is intended to spark imagination for what a teacher could create.  I have categorized the slides by how difficult I believe they are to create.  I’d love feedback here, too!  Please feel free to leave a comment below with an activity you’ve done that has a slide you feel is particularly inspiring, and what level of difficulty it would be to create.  If you post a link, I’m assuming it’s ok to use some of your ideas as inspiration slides.  🙂  I’ll give credit to its original creator.
  4. Navigate over to and encourage teachers to explore a little.
  5. Have teachers log into and explore the wealth of activities already out there.
  6. Allow time for teachers to try creating their own activity and help out/troubleshoot as needed.

There’s the plan!  Again, please do leave feedback in the comments!  I’d like this to be as helpful for my department as possible.  Please keep in mind that many people there will have little to no knowledge of Desmos.

After I finalize everything and run the workshop on Feb. 16, I’ll post the teacher links for the updated activities…please feel free to use what you want with your own department!

Thank you, Desmos friends!

EDIT:  I originally posted a student code for the idea pages, not the PD slides.  The code above is correct now!


6 thoughts on “Ideas for Desmos PD Day

  1. Hi- this looks excellent – wish I could come to your PD. I use Desmos a lot, but have not set up lessons like this. I will have to investigate further.
    I am Head of Mathematic at St Hilda’s School on the Gold Coast Australia


    1. I’d love it if you could come. Keep an eye on this site, because I’ll be posting little ideas here and there for making interesting activities.


  2. Suzanne, this sounds like a great day! I sure hope you’ll write a recap after the fact as well. 🙂

    I love the idea of using an Activity Builder for multiple purposes (leveling up their calculator skills, showing off the dashboard, segueing into creating their own Activity Builders).

    One thing I wondered about in the idea pages… Some teachers might be turned off by the easy/medium/hard labels, especially if they get stumped on something you’ve labeled as “easy.” Also, folks might *not* try something that you’ve labeled as challenging, even though they might have been able to handle the challenge. Could you simply say that the challenges are ordered (roughly) from least to most challenging? Either way, not a big deal.

    Again, looks like a lot of fun! I hope you and your colleagues have a productive time.


  3. This might be a stupid question but, I am doing a PD on Desmos for teachers who have never used before and would like to make use of parts of your activity, is there any way that I can copy and edit the activity.


    1. Yes. Is be happy to share. When are you doing your PD session? I have been meaning to post about how the day went. There are things that went well and things that I would do differently. If you don’t need the materials for Monday, then let me get a little post up with some links to the files, and some ideas for improvements. 🙂


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