Last week my students started to plot points on coordinate grids. They were identifying different quadrants and becoming more confident with drawing shapes on the plane. While reflecting on last week’s activities I noticed a Tweet that was sent our replying to one of my blog posts.

I’m a rookie when it comes to Desmos. Most of the stories I hear involve middle or high school students. I needed to find something that worked with my elementary kids. So I started to research and did a little bit of exploring to see how this could be used with my third grade class. I ended up looking up some of the templates but had a bit of trouble finding an extremely basic rookie-like coordinate plane activity for my students. I decided to go the route of creating a template and having students manipulate created points for a project. Click here for the template.

I quickly found that students had no idea how to use Desmos. I gave the students 5-10 minutes to orient themselves. Students were asked to move the points to certain coordinates on the grid. As they moved the points students started noticing that the tables on the left side of the screen changed. Students started connecting how the tables changed and this helped reinforce concepts learned last week. After this introduction time, students were given a rubric that contained the following:

- Move the points on the grid to create two angles
- The angles need be located in two different quadrants
- The angles need to be acute and obtuse with arcs located in each one
- Indicate the measurement of each angle

Students were then given 15-20 minutes to create their projects.

Students created their angles by moving the points around the grid. Students then shared their projects with the class.

Students took a screenshot and then added the degree measurements to the angles. The class reviewed the projects and students explained how they plotted the points. This project seemed to help students make the connection between points and the x and y-coordinates. It also reinforced skills related to angle classification and measurements. I’m looking forward to expanding on this project next week.

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## Author: Matt Coaty

I've taught elementary students for the past 14 years. I enjoy reading educational research and learning from my PLN. Words on this blog are my own.
View all posts by Matt Coaty

Matt,

Your lesson intrigues me, Would you expand on a few area?

1. What computers are your students using?

2. How were they able to find the angle measurement for their individual angles?

3. Are you using a drawing program to write in the angle measurements??

Thanks, Jenn V

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Hi Jenn,

1. Each student used an iPad for this activity.

2. They used a protractor over the top of the iPad to measure the angle.

3. Students took a screenshot of the program in Desmos. They uploaded the screenshot to SeeSaw (student eportfolio platform), wrote angle measurements and submitted their projects.

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Thanks, Matt! Would like to modify for my elementary teachers. We don’t have ipads just computers.

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Hey Matt,

I think Nathan Kraft made a couple activities in Desmos for the coordinate plane. I love Desmos (then again, I taught high school courses during students teaching, so I used it every day). I don’t get as many opportunities to pull it out now that I teach middle school, but I was also trying to find ways to use it for exploring the coordinate plane. The activity builder templates are nice, but I wish there was a way to combine the graphing interface with Polygraph. For instance, I could imagine students graphing something (a point, shape, etc.) and have other students ask them questions until then were able to place the object correctly on a new plane.

I liked how the activities you described in this post are equal parts techy and tactile. While GeoGebra could have been used for plotting angles on the plane and automatically measuring them, getting students to use a physical protractor has that kind of activity that resonates with younger students.

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I need to check out Nathan’s work with Desmos. I’m planning expanding on this lesson next week and possibly use Desmos a bit more when my students explore linear equations.

Using the tactile and tech in this lesson was born out of necessity. At the time I didn’t have a digital protractor for students to lay over their angles. Looking back, using the actual protractor seemed to help reinforce their measurement skills.

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