Creativity + Desmos = A Rewarding Math Project

A couple of weeks ago, I assigned a project to my Honors Precalculus students that made use of the fantastic online calculator, Desmos :

Honors Precalculus Desmos Project

In this project, you get to combine your mathematical knowledge with your artistic creativity.

Use the Desmos online graphing calculator ( to plot a set of functions that create a picture. You must use at least 25 functions. You may use any type of function we’ve learned so far this year: polynomial, rational, piece-wise, trigonometric. You can add shading by using inequalities.

Save your finished project (include your name in the title), and submit it to me by using the “share graph” button on the top right:

 This project is worth 40 points.

Your masterpiece is due at the beginning of class Monday, November 25. We’ll view everyone’s submissions, and vote on the “Best in Show”. The winner will get a special prize!

The results far exceeded my expectations. The students threw themselves into the task with amazing enthusiasm. They learned all about restricting domains of functions, using inequalities for shading, and transformations. One student even researched how to rotate conic sections, and shared her new knowledge with her classmates.

If you are concerned about spending a lot of time learning a new program, fear not: Desmos is one of the easiest and most intuitive graphers I’ve ever worked with. They provide a brief but excellent user guide that can be downloaded here, as well as lots of video tutorials.

The gallery below contains all of my students’ final submissions, but I have to spotlight a couple students’ masterpieces. In the Beauty and the Beast one, the student used 406 equations to create it, and it is simply spectacular!


And here is a magnificent rendering of the Taj Mahal by another gifted mathematical artist:


Here are the rest of their creations. Clicking on a thumbnail brings up the full-size image. Enjoy!

Update: Desmos featured one of my student’s work on Twitter!



Math Quilts

A colleague of mine is a very talented math teacher and quilter. She has combined her gifts to create mathematical quilts. They illustrate various concepts – the Pythagorean theorem, conic sections, a spiral of Theodorus that is constructed with right triangles, the Fibonacci sequence with rectangles, Tetraminoes, and a perfect rectangle composed of squares.

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