Desmos Polygraph: Geometry Basics

16 smaller picturesToday, I had the pleasure of introducing Desmos Polygraph: Geometric Basics to a group of 4th grade students.  It was my first time teaching in an elementary classroom and I enjoyed every minute.


To avoid answering the same question 100 times, I either show this slide or write these steps on the board.

Depending on the class, the code may or may not be omitted.  If it’s the first or second time using Desmos with that particular class, I’ll insert my initial digital citizenship “talk” before sharing the Class Code. Digital citizenship is an on-going discussion and is always weaved into computer based lessons.

Let students play through the practice activity.  Once finished, regroup the class and ask them to share out what they experienced.  Here are some of the comments:

  • Student:  I asked questions
    • Me:  What kind of questions?
    • Student:  Yes and Nocapture
  • Student:  We saw kids.
    • Me:  What did you see afterwards?
    • Student:  Math symbols
  • Student:  I answered questions.
    • Me: How?
    • Student:  I picked yes or no.
  • Me:  What happened after your question was answered?
    • Students:  We had to x out pictures.
    • Me:  Yes, you have to select pictures to eliminate.

Me:  How many have played the game, “Guess Who.” (Hands waved in the air).  This activity is just like Guess Who.

I proceed to clarify the directions, then let students play.


Having never been exposed to the awesomeness of Desmos, Tricia (teacher) hunkered down at a computer and played along side of her students.  Her decision also addressed the issue of having an odd number of students.  Often, when there are an odd number of students, I’ll ask two kiddos to pair up and work on one computer.  Jen (elementary math coach) and I circulated the room addressing student needs.


As mentioned, this was my debut as an elementary teacher.  Here are some observations:

  • By asking questions, students practiced spelling and sentence structure.
  • Students openly helped each other.
  • Conversations flowed throughout the room.
  • Students were animated.
  • Understanding vocabulary terms became cool
  • Refinement of questions occurred naturally.
  • After 45 minutes of playing, students were still going strong.

At one point, Jen listed all the vocabulary words she was hearing. Since I noticed most students were not using acute and obtuse.  I challenged the students to intentionally use the words, acute, obtuse and right angles.  They rose to the challenge!

img_2247 img_2248






About jgvadnais

Instructional Technology Coach. Desmos Fellow. Google Level 1 Certified. SoCal transplant. New Englander at heart. Lover of yoga, dogs, green smoothies and coffee creamer
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2 Responses to Desmos Polygraph: Geometry Basics

  1. Pingback: Dueling Banjos: Desmos-Style | Pi Crust

  2. Pingback: Desmos Polygraph: Place Value | Communicating Mathematically

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