Today, I introduce students to a online graphing application called Desmos Graphing Calculator. This application an be used on chrome books so it will be very useful this yera. Following the same routine as yesterday, I direct students to get a chrome book and login.
Next, I ask students to think about the types of functions that they learned about in prior math classes. I expect students to remember linear and quadratic, easily. Other functions that should be mentioned include cubic, radical, rational, and exponential. As students brainstorm, I am moving around the room troubleshooting computers.
Once everyone is logged into their computer, I have one student go to the board to be the class recorder. Students share the types of functions they remember. I expect hat some students know how to write an equation for some function, but will have forgotten the name. If this occurs, we simply write the equation on the board usually another students will remember the name.
I am now ready to introduce students to the Desmos Graphing Calculator Tool. The Desmos App can be used with Google tools. I do some direct instruction at this point. Most of my students have very little experience with Google tools. I do not want to spend a lot of time adding the application to the students' Google Drive. I display directions on How to Add an Application to Google Drive on the board and read each step. As I am going over the directions, I move around the room making sure students are completing each step properly.
Once students have the application installed as a Google App we open the application. I show the students how to create a Desmos account using their Google account. I will quickly demonstrate how to make a graph. I am very brief with my explanation because I want students to learn by exploring and the Desmos interface is quite intuitive.
I now show students where to find the Desmos User Guide. I have placed a .pdf copy in the class Google folder. I have also put the directions for today's activity in the folder along with an example of what I want students to include in their document. Since I want students to use the folder for their work I model the process by putting items in the folder for their use.
Students spend the remainder of class working on creating their Google Document. I spend my time providing technical assistance and listening in as students work. Some students are very comfortable working with the Chromebooks. Others may have more trouble with this activity. I make note of the students who are less confident. I visit them more regularly and look over their work.
A common error is not inputting a function correctly into the program. Most of the functions the students have seen before. I ask students if the graph looks like they expected. I will have the students show me how they inputted the function and then correct any problems.
Other items I help students with are formatting. Students are not sure how to make the graph smaller on the Google Document. Some students struggle with the equation editor.
If students finish early I have the students try to make their document more interesting by adding color or other features.
With 5 minutes left, I have students upload what they have completed to the Google Drive folder. I explain that even if the document is uploaded and shared they can still edit their document. I give students a final date to complete this introductory assignment.
I am careful to follow the same procedures as yesterday as students put their ChromeBooks back into the cart. I focus on being neat with the cables. By being consistent with this now, I will not have to focus on this issue later in the school year.