Implementing the 5 Practices with Desmos

Focus Area: Student-Centered Math


Pathway: Understanding


Smith and Stein’s 5 Practices model gives teachers a clear framework for using students’ own thinking to help a group make meaning of a mathematical concept. It “gives students opportunities to experience mathematics as more than the application of procedures” and to see themselves as capable mathematicians at the same time.  

This 2-hour virtual workshop will model how teachers can use the free Desmos Snapshots tool to organize a 5 Practices-style class discussion in a virtual setting. 


This workshop is designed for teachers working with secondary math students (6th – 12th grades). While it does not provide a full introduction to Desmos or to the 5 Practices, it is accessible for educators with varying degrees of familiarity with either. 

  • 2 hours
  • Up to 20 participants per BetterLesson Coach
  • Participants will need a computer with a camera and microphone.


Participants will be able to: 

  • Reflect on the value of soliciting, celebrating, and using student thinking to drive learning in both in-person and virtual settings
  • Practice using the Desmos platform to engage students in interactive math activities
  • Use the Desmos Snapshots tool to select and sequence student responses

Learning Experience

Participants will…


  • The experience of a discussion organized using the Desmos Snapshot tool from a student perspective
  • The goals and structure of the 5 Practices
  • The Desmos Snapshots tool


  • The Desmos Snapshots tool and how to use it to organize a discussion based on student responses


  • A plan for using the Snapshots tool to organize discussion of a specific Desmos math activity