Yep, you heard right. No more graph paper and pencils. No more painstakingly plotting individual points of an equation to see it visually. Now students and instructors can create, copy, and tweak graphs and interactive problem sets using Desmos – and it’s FREE!
Investing in a graphing calculator is no small feat for students and it is even harder to swallow when they may only use the device for a couple of classes. Additionally, individual graphing calculators make it difficult for instructors to ensure each student actually graphs the equation correctly. Now with the Desmos calculator, students have access to a free and easy to use graphing calculator and instructors can build assignments that show each individual student’s work using the assignment builder.
The Desmos Calculator has an easy to use interface and comes with free tours and tutorial videos to help students/instructors construct graphs. There seems to be no end in the types of graphs that can be plotted: trigonometry, polynomial, polar, inequalities, even 3D. The calculator is web-based and can be accessed from any device (e.g., laptop, mobile) so long as it is connected to the internet. Students can either use the calculator anonymously or create an account to save and submit their work.
As an instructor, you can create your own assignments using the Desmos Activity Builder or search for existing assignments made by the community and Desmos. If you find an assignment that you like, you can copy or tweak it to meet your needs. Instructors will need to create an account to design and assign activities. Once the activity is created, students access it by typing in a code associated with your assignment. A great example is the Marble Slide Activity, created by Desmos.