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Exploring Math with Desmos: Getting Started

Is your student using the accessible online Desmos Graphing Calculator?

TVIs – our mission is to help our students learn math and to love learning math! What mainstream, approved digital math tools are you teaching your students? Desmos is a favorite tool among math teachers – and it is fully accessible!

Desmos is an advanced graphing calculator implemented as a web application and a mobile application. Demos is a free application and is accessible with a screen reader and braille display, or simply convert your keyboard to a six key Braille input. As of 2018, Desmos is an embedded tool or is allowed to be used on the calculator portion of the digital SAT, PSAT 10, PSAT, ACT, NWEA Map Growth tests and many state assessments. Check here to see if Desmos is available for your state assessments.

Desmos and Screen Readers

Desmos is accessible with these screen readers: JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, TalkBack and ChromeBox. Students can input equations and the calculator supports the verbalizations of a scientific calculator and provides auditory tracing (sonification) of graphs.  Desmos has created YouTube tutorial about using Desmos with a screen reader. The video below demonstrates the Accessibility Features in the Desmos Graphing Calculator.

Desmos provides thorough documentation on how to use and teach Desmos here. There are classroom activities organized by math topics along with activities specifically for students who use a screen reader.

Desmos and Braille

The Desmos graphing calculator has the ability to export graphs for a Braille embosser. (Link to exporting graphs.)

Desmos is compatible with a braille display or using Six Key Braille Input with your keyboard. (Link to information about using a Braille Display with Desmos.)

When are students introduced to Desmos?

Desmos is a tool that students must master in order to be successful with online high stakes assessments, SAT, ACT, and for college math courses. When should students be introduced to using Desmos to playfully explore math? These mainstream Desmos classroom activities are designed for students in 3rd – 5th grades:

Link to Activities for Elementary Grades

By Diane Brauner

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