Desmos Art Project

Last year I had my students create an art picture using Desmos.  I showed them examples from Desmos.com Staff Pics, Creative Art to motivate them and give them ideas.  My students loved the art they saw on Desmos, and were excited to create their own pictures.  They came to me outside of class to learn how to graph certain functions, restrict their graph, and color in their art.  It was a blast for me and a great learning experience for them.  I loved how excited they were about creating their art!  I have done this with students in Pre-Algebra and up, but you could change the project to make it appropriate for lower grade levels by having them graph only lines, or having them plot points in a Desmos table and connect them.

To keep all of their art projects in one place, I created a Desmos Activity Builder for the project.  Having them do the project through an Activity Builder helped me manage all of their graphs so I could easily view them and access them for help.  By using an Activity Builder, I was also able to include the instructions for the projects and helpful tips for them.  I used teacher pacing, and restricted the screens to 1 – 5 during the project.  After they finished the project, I turned on the “Reflection” slides so they could fill those out.

I had them print out their Desmos Art, and I made a huge collage of it on my wall in the back of the room.

My Activity Builder Includes:

1. Project Instructions Screen
2. A link to Learn Desmos so they can use more advanced equations
3. Example screens that taught them how to restrict and color their graphs (and more) for them to examine and play with.
4. A blank graph screen for their project
5. A screen to describe their project
6. Two “Reflection” screens for after the project was finished.
1. What did you like the most about the project?
2. What would you change about the project?

Here is the work of the Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students at my school.

Desmos Art Collage on my wall!

12 thoughts on “Desmos Art Project”

1. Julie, I love this project and would love to do it. I hate to be negative, but how did you insure that their work was original? With all the awesome Desmos stuff out there at all levels, that is my concern in using this project.

• Hi Wendy, I have actually had that problem in the past. This is another bonus to using Activity Builder. When you use Activity Builder, students can’t just copy an existing Desmos graph and rename it. They would actually have to type in every single equation. Most Desmos Art out there has hundreds of equations so that would be more difficult than actually doing the project. I also give them two work days in class at the beginning of the project so I can walk around and see their level of work. A big jump or difference in that would concern me and then I could have a conversation with that student. 🙂

• After the two days of working in class on the project, what amount of time was allotted for students to complete the project? Did they use time out of the classroom for this? What kind of deadline was set, time wise, for the project?

2. I have done this project before, but did not think of making it in activity builder. That is a terrific idea! Thank you 😀

3. I love the whole idea of doing projects in my math class, but I have little to no experience in using this program. How long do you think it takes the average teacher to learn how to use desmos? Also, does it matter what level of math my students are at? My students are all over the place as far what skills each of them have. How many days to you recommend a teacher put aside for this project?

• I know this is an old comment, but if you haven’t started yet, you should definitely play around with Desmos! It’s really easy to learn to use desmos.calculator and it’s not too hard to learn to use teacher.desmos activities. I love this project, and I love the idea of doing it in Activity Builder. I’m planning on doing it this term with my Algebra 1 students, so I will change the example equations to linear & parabolic (so I will “copy & edit” her activity), making it more accessible to students at that level.

4. I use Desmos in my Algebra II courses to show students how the functions interact based on the different parameters and it seems to really help them visualize it. I have seen examples of this before and love the creative aspect in it and how it reinforces restricting domain and range. Using the Activity Building seems like it would provide them with enough structure to really take off running with it. What unit do you do this in and how do you address using functions that have not yet been taught? I see in your video that you have Trig functions in the 7th grade examples but, at least in New York, those are not taught until the end of Algebra II. Do you show every student those or just the ones who are looking to extend their function knowledge to create the image they thought of?

5. This is such a wonderful activity! I love that you are encouraging students to be creative with mathematics. I was wondering what class/unit you would implement this activity in? Have you had a situation where your students experience difficulty using the program technology? This would be a concern of mine. Overall, I think this is a really engaging and fun activity that I plan on using in my future classroom!

6. This Desmos art project is such a great idea to let student’s start thinking about functions and how to transform them. I really like how personalized this project is. The students have full control of how they want their creation to look like; plus it gives them tons of practice on graphing. I think I can definitely use this in my classrooms with a rubric.

7. Thanks for sharing. I have done this project using Desmos but didn’t think to make it an activity builder. So much easier to keep track of and help the students.

8. Hi Julie! Thank you so much for sharing how you used the Desmos activity for the art project. I found your Desmos activity, edited it a bit to fit my students, and my students have done some great work! The classroom activity made it SO much easier to provide support and monitor their progress.

I have a question for you. I am now having major trouble getting their projects printed from inside the classroom activity so that we can display their work. For the graphs I have resorted to taking a screenshot of their work and enlarging it, but I also want to print their list of equations. I see that you have them printed. I’ve always had no trouble printing from the regular Desmos calculator, but now I’m struggling since we used the classroom activity. Please help!