Friday, February 17, 2017

Desmos Marbleslide Challenges

This year I've implemented Desmos marbleslide challenges throughout my classes that have been really exciting, fun and educational for my students.  If you aren't familiar with Marbleslides you are totally missing out!  The basic idea is that marbles will fall down from a certain point on a graph, and students need to graph equations to help them collect all of the stars on the screen.  The full, official marbleslides activites are here and they always leave kids wanting more.  

The original activities went so well last year, that I decided to regularly give more marbleslides challenges throughout the year.  I wanted to give activities that anyone familiar with graphing lines could complete with some effort, but that could also provide further challenge for students who know more about graphing.  I started creating single page challenges and posting an advertisement for them on my door and in my classroom along with a high score board from the previous week.

I award scores(not for a grade, just for fun) based on number of stars obtained, creativity, consistency and on using fewer functions. All of the challenges can be completed with multiple linear equations, but I challenge students who know more to use fewer, more complex functions. 

I knew that this would be a fun activity for my students, and could help provide some extra challenge, but it has far exceed my expectations for what it could be.  These  challenges have gotten some of my students really excited about math, graphing and learning about equations.  It has created a need for them to learn more, completely on their own, about different types of graphs and how to manipulate them.  I have had students in my class who have only formally learned about straight lines pulling out answers like this:

Every once in awhile I'll drop a little clue for a new type of equation that might help, and they run with it or search things out on their own.  Here are a few more mind blowing examples from students who've gone way above and beyond my expectations:

(The bearded face is part of the challenge.  The student answered by making a hat!)

The challenges have also helped me to further differentiate and more easily manage my classroom.  Whenever students finish an assignment or assessment early, I point them to a challenge and off they go.  I'm really happy that I started these challenges, and if you try them at your school I hope that work out as well for you as they have for me!

If you'd like take a shot at one of the marbleslides challenges yourself, give this one a try.

If you want to try to implement these are your school, here at the first 8 challenges I used this year, and I will continue adding to this list.

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