Interactive Desmos classroom activities for first-year undergraduate mathematics

Ava Greenwood 2
First Year
Guided activity, Tutorial
Introductory Mathematics, Mathematics and statistics
The University of Queensland
Oct 2021

A collection of interactive Desmos classroom activities exploring assorted topics of interest to foundation and first-year mathematics courses.

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About this resource


This resource is a collection of Desmos classroom activities covering a broad selection of topics
relevant to foundation/first-year undergraduate mathematics courses. These activities were created with a view to engaging students in active learning across both online and on-campus delivery environments. Desmos Classroom provides functionality which makes student thinking visible to
instructors thus enhancing opportunities for personalised support and differentiation. Desmos classroom also provides a platform for students to share their thinking with peers thus supporting peer learning, collaboration and discussion. Each of the activities vary in length and complexity and can be copied and edited so that the learning experience can be tailored to suit each unique cohort and context.


Less than 1 hr

Pedagogical backing


The goal of this resource is to provide a mechanism for transitioning from tutor-centered to
student-centered delivery within the learning sequence. Particularly in light of the rapid transition to online learning due to COVID-19, this resource aims to encourage participation and engagement regardless of delivery mode and also generate opportunities for student-student and student-instructor interactivity.

These activities provide a pedagogical advantage beyond substitution of regular tutorial worksheets. At a minimum, the technology of Desmos classroom offers a functional improvement by making student thinking visible in ways that would not otherwise be elucidated. The customisability of the activities, however, means that the pedagogical potential for redesigning typical tutorial style activities is vast. For example, in this activity collection hinge questions have been incorporated as strategies for seeding classroom discussions and evaluating student mastery of important conceptual ideas, and the activities progress from highly scaffolded examples through to challenge questions which allow students to demonstrate agency as independent learners.

How is the resource used

This resource can be used flexibly and edited to suit the particular needs of a given cohort, however, these activities were originally designed for use in a tutorial setting. The advantage of the Desmos teacher dashboard is that it enables the instructor to gain evidence of student progress, identify misconceptions, and start conversations with individuals or groups of students needing support. In this way the students set their own pace and begin to work independently while the instructor is able to monitor student progress and provide guidance as informed by the needs of the class.

Student evaluation

An earlier version of this resource has been used with first year cohorts since Semester 1, 2021, however, the activities have undergone continual development and are not likely to be implemented in their current form until Semester 1, 2022.


Ava Greenwood (, Louise Manitzky (, Dylan Cowley (, Marc Eksteen (, Rhiannon Newton (, Michael Jennings (, Joseph Feredoes (, Vivian Lui (formerly at UQ)

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