STAAR + Desmos = Spring 2022!

It’s been (at least) 7 years in the making!

Next month, when students across Texas take an online state STAAR test, they will also {for the first time ever} see an *embedded* Desmos graphing calculator option in addition to a TI emulator. A “both-and” graphing calculator situation! Woot! Years back, we clunked our way through locking students into the original Desmos Test Mode app on iPads, but that only worked because students took paper tests. As state testing shifts to an online platform, having Desmos embedded was the hope, and here we are! I hope Desmos is also on your state test.

I wanted to stop through the ol’ blog to share several resources that might be helpful before STAAR (or may at least give you ideas to modify if you’re not specifically in Texas).


To help students feel comfortable with “griddable” questions (that will now be more type-able than griddable using an online testing platform) I created this Desmos activity. During my time proctoring STAAR, I have never seen directions mentioned that remind students how to correctly grid their answers to open-response problems. Even leading up to STAAR, one has to Google in order to find these directions, and having students understand the flexible syntax before panic strikes mid-test is necessary. This activity provides directions and practice for students in Math 6, Math 7, Math 8, or Algebra 1. (Note: If I am missing an updated set of directions, please let me know! The directions for griddables I found online are the ones I included here.)

STAAR Chart Scavenger Hunts

Students take comfort in knowing they have access to a reference sheet during testing! Here are two activities designed to help students get reacquainted with EVERYTHING that’s on the “STAAR Chart”. It’s important to know which concepts are *NOT* on the reference sheet as well, and I’ve included a few ideas in the activities below. Math 8 and Algebra 1 are represented here, and if anyone decides to create or modify these for Math 6 or Math 7, please share back! ♥️

Additionally, the test review template Desmos activity shared here can be modified to include released STAAR questions for practice and student presentations. If you’ve never used it, I’d also like to introduce you to Problem-Attic as a question-bank resource. Having a free Problem-Attic account provides access to many released test problems that are sorted by topic. However, there’s a way to gain access to released STAAR questions too! Our curriculum and instruction department at the district level had to communicate with the fine folks at Problem-Attic for access to released STAAR questions aligned to TEKS through the Problem-Attic platform. Have your admin get in touch with Problem-Attic too! One can organize released questions to create resources in all sorts of ways (2-column PDF, a page with 4 problems in blocks, warm-ups), and the plaform allows one to change fonts, spacing, and more! Free access! Check it out!

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