Top 5 Tips for Using Desmos to Teach Stats Medic Lessons

With so many of us teaching remote learners, there are many teachers in the Stats Medic Teacher Community that are creating Desmos activities to teach Stats Medic lessons. But what do you need to know to make the Desmos activity go smoothly? Here are our top 5 tips:


1. It's easier than you think.

Many teachers think "I would love to use Desmos, but I haven't attended a training or workshop to know how to use it." While some digital resources do require proper training before implementation, Desmos does not. On the teacher end, all you have to do is find the activity you want to use, assign a single session code, then share the student link with your students.


2. Have students work in groups.

We know that students working in small groups promotes collaboration and communication of understanding (all EFFL lessons are designed to work this way) and Desmos activities should be no different. For our remote learners we use Zoom Breakout Rooms, but other video platforms have similar features. Important: Each Breakout Room should have only 1 student typing in answers in the Desmos activity. This student puts in "Breakout Room # __" for their name and they share their screen with the other students in the Breakout Room.


3. Monitor student progress.

If you are teaching in-person, this is easy. Just walk around the room and see which slide each group is working on. If you are using the activity with remote learning students, the Teacher Dashboard will keep track of each of your groups. If a group is getting behind, check in to see if they are stuck. The Dashboard also informs you about the best time to end the breakout rooms and bring everyone back together for the debrief.


4. Review student answers.

Within the Teacher Dashboard, you can click in to see responses from each group for each slide. These responses provide you with formative feedback about student understanding and help you to start building a presentation for the debrief.

5. Use Snapshots to build a presentation.

Desmos has a Snapshots feature (camera icon) which allows you to save any interesting student responses.

Once you have saved several snapshots, you can organize them into a slideshow presentation. We use this slideshow presentation as our "debrief" of the activity.


Where do I find Desmos Activities for Stats Medic Lessons?

Use this spreadsheet to find Desmos activities for many of the Stats Medic lessons (special thanks to Nate Novotny for all his hard work.) We will update the spreadsheet as more Desmos activities are created. If you have created or discovered an excellent Desmos activity for a Stats Medic lesson, please share it with us here.


I want to use Desmos, but I can't teach my remote students synchronously

For remote learners, Desmos definitely works better in the synchronous environment, as many of the activities allow students to see data and responses from other groups in real time. If you must use asynchronous resources to teach your remote students, consider using the Stats Medic asynchronous EFFL lesson videos.

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