Type of technology: iPad App/Desktop App
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Grade Level: 7-12
Subject area: Math
Math teachers! If you haven’t explored Desmos Marbleslides yet, you should definitely make it one of your professional homework assignments this summer. You may already be aware that Desmos is a powerful graphing app, but there are many more uses for it in the classroom.
Go to Desmos and you will see many available activities. Some of them are from the Desmos creators and some are teacher-created. Marbleslide activities provide students with challenges that teach them how the different parts of a function equation effect the graph of that function. Students tweak the equation in order to “build” a ramp for the marbles to slide down and go through the star targets. I know in writing this doesn’t sound fun, but it is extremely satisfying to successfully hit those stars! However, Marbleslides is not just a fun game in which the teacher must make all the connections for the students. Desmos has made a quality product here and there are questions along the way that students answer to help them process and summarize the concepts they are learning. Also, the students may log in with a lesson code so that the teacher may view each student’s progress (formative assessment, anyone?). This may be shared with the class and the option is available to change the names of the students if desired so that they may remain anonymous. The ability to share and monitor is a great feature since there are many solutions to each challenge which can foster rich classroom discussions. Speaking of discussion, if you are short on tablets or chromebooks, the Marbleslide activities work wonderfully for pairs of students as well. Working in pairs forces the students to articulate the change in equation verbally and justify their decisions.
There are Marbleslide activities for linear functions, parabolic functions, exponential functions, polynomial functions, rational functions, and periodic functions. So really they can be used from beginning algebra to pre-calculus. Desmos has created these powerful and easy to use activities for students to make meaningful, visual connections to math equations and have fun in the process. This is well worth your time to check out this app and use it with your math curriculum.