A Free Online Graphing Calculator

Published on: Author: Becky Parton

written by Ryann Shelton …

Calling all instructors of science, mathematics, engineering, and others who utilize calculators!

When I was in high school, I named my graphing calculator Callie. Get it? It was silly, but I loved that calculator. You can probably guess which one it was. As a high school math teacher, I collected a few calculators over the years, but Callie made it with me 15 years until “she” recently had to be retired.

I do have a similar graphing calculator I have used for the last few years, but I wanted to share with you an online option. Specifically, a FREE online option: Desmos. I didn’t get to name this one, nor do I have any official ties to it. However, it’s a great tool you may want to use yourself and share with your students. Visit www.desmos.com  to try it out. It is user-friendly, and there are resources to help you learn about its various capabilities (see http://learn.desmos.com/).

Also visit https://teacher.desmos.com/ to learn more about using this calculator in the classroom, yes – even the university classroom. Just type trigonometry, calculus, or conic in the search box to see what they have to offer. There are activities created by Desmos as well as those submitted by teachers. One of my favorites is called Polygraph, which is similar to the old Guess Who? board game – but with mathematics! Students join the game with a class code and are paired with one another to guess a function selected by their automatically-assigned partner. Just set up the code, share with your students, and have an instant formative assessment to kick of the first 3-5 minutes of your class. Get students “talking” to one another about mathematics, help them to review, and evaluate their progress with topics in your course. Take some time to see if you could utilize this or any of the other activities as part of your course. It’s fun, I promise!