Starting My Unit with Desmos


One of my goals this year has been to establish a context for learning at the beginning of each unit (or subunit). In my district, unit 2 for Introduction to Algebra is Transformations. My 8th grade team decided to start with angles, which changed my plan a bit. Did I panic and complain?  Goodness no! (That was for all the Pete the Cat fans 😉). I went to Desmos and looked for a lesson on angles. 

Day one of angles we went to the computer lab to partake in Lines, Transversals and Angles, which was my students’ first experience with Desmos and mine with a large group of students. They were so engaged and engrossed in the activity it was difficult to slow them enough to discuss the overlays used to explain placement of dots to identify congruent angles. 

Over two days, students were able to make sense of angle relationships through the use of this activity and I had a Birdseye view of their thinking. I loved how the system captures the information for me to return to later. I used my formative assessment data collection sheet (not pictured) and recorded where individual students were based on the expectations of the learning target. 

After this bit of exploration, I conducted guided instruction focusing on the characteristics students identified during the investigation. This was a great springboard into the angles discussion going from identifying angle pairs to using their characteristics to find missing angle measures and will now lead us into triangle measures. 

This subunit included activities such as Transversals, Tape and Stickies, Angle pair flash cards, a word wall game called It’s on the Word Wall, a project and a formative assessment using Plickers. As we transition to triangles, I wish I had taken the time to return to this Desmos lesson and compare what students know and understand after looking at these concepts in different ways. 
*It’s on the Word Wall rules can be found here