# Desmos by Day, Nearpod by Night

I’ve been having a lot of fun using Nearpod “student-paced” lessons as homework assignments.  Generally, I assign a NPP HW to pre-assess.  The Nearpod Report on the teacher side of things reveals all sorts of interesting student thinking.  Reports permit me to see all of this thinking before our next class meeting, know exactly what I’m in for instructionally, and as an added bonus, I have some very interesting, anonymous, authentic content to share and analyze with my students.

We’ve been solving equations, and I (intentionally) failed to mention ahead of assigning a “How Many Solutions?” NPP HW the possibility of equations having “no solution” or “infinitely many solutions”.  While the title of the lesson *should* have been telling… students with no experience with “identity” or “no solution” equations had little reason to be suspicious.  Instead, they doubted their own math, filling “Draw It” slides with work and question marks.

By the way… I ADORE the option in the iOS Nearpod App for students to submit a PHOTO on a “Draw It” slide.  Some students find that writing multi-step work on an iPad screen is not their favorite fine-motor-skill activity, and prefer to do work on paper first.  I get to see their thinking, and they can write their work on paper.  Win-win.

My FAVORITE Nearpod HW submission to date is shown below.

What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

The student revealed that he was working on this problem during a tutoring session. He got frustrated and threw the work away.  When the tutor saw the equation on his iPad screen, the tutor asked him about his solution.  When he revealed that he kept getting weird things like -4n = -4n or 0 = 0, the tutor told him he was right!  Immediately, he retrieved his work from the trash and submitted this photo.  I love the crumpled paper, calculator, eraser and eraser residue in the background.  The realities of persistence, all in one photo. 🙂

To start class the next day, I featured these, and other student work samples.  We had great discussions about solutions to various equations, and students were directed to my first attempt at strategy-smashing a #WODB (Which One Doesn’t Belong?) task with Desmos Activity Builder.

This was also the first time I took full advantage of the new “Conversation Tools” in Desmos.  Initially, I used “Teacher Pacing” to require students to stay put on the first “slide” and solve the equations on paper.

As a result, students naturally discussed their solutions, made corrections, and considered which equation they thought didn’t belong, rather than (without the “Teacher Pacing” option in the past) silently and somewhat mindlessly hurrying through the entire activity, clicking arrows to see what was coming next.  I lifted the “Teacher Pacing” after seeing that many students were ready to take an equation stance, giving them navigation freedom until it was time to “Pause Class” to discuss their choices a bit later.

I’m SO GLAD I used the “Card Sort” option to ask students to stack the 3 equations they thought “belonged”, leaving out the 1 they thought did not belong.  Selecting “Summary” in the teacher dashboard was a quick way to see the majority of responses in each class, while selecting individual student thumbnails revealed that all 4 choices had been chosen by various (anonymous) students in the class.  As we explored students’ equation choices and justifications, I used the “Pause Class” feature to get all eyes up front, where I projected their responses.  I am loving these “Conversation Tools” as they are truly appropriately named!

Reactions to our #WODB equations task varied.

My unscientific survey of the most popular verbal responses as students worked:

“I really like this.”

“This is making me think.”

“This is kind of hard.” …to which I always respond, “Do you mean this is appropriately challenging?” … to which they respond, *smirk*. 😉

“I really don’t like this.” (see note above for my response)

How are YOU using Nearpod student-paced activities?

Desmos activities?

Desmos “Conversation Tools”?

P.S. Check out the madness that started with a tweet about the “bottle flipping” craze.  Kids these days.  And… math teachers these days… 😉

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