I've played with Desmos before in class. I've used it to illustrate different transformations to functions (parabolas, trig functions, etc) but hadn't had the students do much more with it. I'd played with the Function Carnival and Central Park and Water Line but never used as a teacher in class.
(I have been out of the classroom for 2 years, so cut me a break.)
At some point over the summer (?) I saw that it had become possible for teachers to create their own Desmos activities. Honestly, I didn't think about it too much. But then I saw that Meg had posted a function transformation activity that she and Sheri Walker had created, I thought it might be more useful for me in class.
I used their activity in class last Thursday and thought it went great. It was an opportunity for my precalc kids to practice transformations of graphs in a different way. And since I'm doing the same thing in my Math 3 class, I knew it would be helpful for them too.
So on Monday night, I built my first Desmos Activity. It's pretty simple; I graphed 9 different parent functions (linear, quadratic, cubic, square root, cube root, and absolute value) in various states of transformation. The goal is to create an equation to match the graph.
I could have talked until I was blue in the face today about transformations and the kids wouldn't have learned 1/2 of what they learned through the activity today.
Everyone was engaged. (Especially after I told them I could see their results.)
The kids who typically can't stop talking (especially in one of my classes) still talked, but this time it was about the math.
So many students had a major lightbulb moment when it came to the difference between an equation with a horizontal shift vs a vertical one.
I never sat down because kids were constantly asking questions about why something wasn't working. Most of these kids would have normally to hear the answer from me the next day. Today they were curious.
My last period class (who typically likes to pack up 10 minutes early) barely had time to stand before the bell rang because they were working.
I can look at the results by question (to see if there's a major disconnect on a topic) or by student (to see if it's just one student that doesn't understand).
I could tell by the kids' questioning of me if they understood the transformations and were just having issues with how to type it or had no clue what it meant to shift left/right.
This is what they worked on. It's not fancy, it's not perfect. But oh my goodness, it was awesome.
(And... a student who has never spoken to me before asked several questions today. Breakthrough!)