The DESMOS Graphing Calculator:
There are a lot of good reasons to consider using the
DESMOS graphing calculator as a tool for mathematics
instruction in TD classrooms. Here are ten of them:
10. It meshes with NCTM, CCSS & TDS recommendations & practices:
From Principles to Actions - Tools and Technologies: “an excellent math program
integrates the use of mathematical tools and technologies as essential resources to
help students learn and make sense of mathematical ideas, reason mathematically
and communicate their mathematical thinking.”
From The CC Standards of Mathematical Practices: ”make sense of, model,
persevere, reason, look for precision, use structure, look for patterns” (selected
words and phrases from the eight practice standards)
From the TDS Transformation Manual: “In a TDS school, student centered
classrooms provide cooperative learning and critical thinking (and) allow sufficient
time for not only explicit instruction but also modeling, demonstrating and
9. It is platform and device agnostic:
Works on both Apples and PCs
Works on desktops, laptops and tablets
Can be accessed from the internet or downloaded onto a device
8. It has built-in interactive functions for display and exploration:
Linear: six including slope/intercept and point slope
Parabolas: four including standard and vertex form
Trig: five including all trig functions and unit circle
Transformations: four including translations and scaling
Conic Sections: four including circle and ellipse/foci
Polar Graphing: four including polar rose and logarithmic spiral
Calculus: four including tangent and secant lines
7. Multiple representations can appear on the same page . . . or not (your
choice). It can represent all of our four-ways template categories:
• Tables
• Graphs
• Functions
• Written Explanations
6. Built-in and student-created sliders
make every variable interactive and easier
for students to explore and understand
5. Although the learning curve for Desmos is not at all steep, there are
quick, easy, online tutorials available at
Check out this site for things such as:
• A downloadable, printable Quick Start Guide
• The Just Add Sliders interactive tutorial
• The Tables of Data interactive tutorial
4. You won’t be alone: teachers across the country are using Desmos,
writing lessons for it and sharing information about it with other
Check out these addresses for some examples of what teachers and
students are doing with Desmos
• Just type Desmos into your search engine to check out what’s new
3. Putting domain or range restrictions on functions is a snap!
2. Projects can range from basic to advanced:
“We’ve finished conic sections. Now, use what you
learned to create your favorite cartoon character.”
“We’ve finished measuring the growth rates of our
plants in different soil and weather conditions. Now,
graph the data points and work up an equation that
will come close to showing the growth rate of each
1. Saving and sharing work
involves nothing more than
creating a free Desmos
account for a class, for a
course or for a student.
Did you catch the slide where it mentioned that the Desmos
graphing calculator and everything about it is totally free?
Well it really is free. It doesn’t cost a single penny.
“In times of change learners inherit
the earth, while the learned find
themselves beautifully equipped to
deal with a world that no longer
exists”- Eric Hoffer
Without question we are in a time of change and we need to help
students become learners ands well as become learned.
So, here’s my suggestion:
Go to the site, download the calculator
and experience for yourself its power and potential
as an instructional tool. I think you will find that it is
worth doing.
Wayne Watson
[email protected]

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