While looking for a way to introduce multiplying and dividing integers to my students, I found this Desmos activity. I really liked the progression of the activity. I liked how the activity asks students to notice things, emphasizes patterns, and has students work to figure out these patterns and rules on their own, rather than telling them these things. These are all things I am trying to do more of this year. However, I wanted something for multiplication rather than addition and subtraction.
I created this activity by modifying the above activity. Overall I was happy with how things went. I would love to hear any feedback on how to improve it or advice/tips on how facilitate these types of activities. This was one of the first times I’ve used the Activity Builder in Desmos, and I found that I’ve got some learning to do on how to best implement things like this in my classroom. How often do you pause and have large group discussions? I like that students can work at their own pace and struggle to know if/when to stop for discussion as students are at different places within the activity.
(Note that I’ve since changed the numbers in the above slide to be consistent with the numbers in later screens to try to emphasize the pattern better.)
I was happy to see many groups of students applying the patterns they were noticing throughout the activity and to see them figure out the “rules” on their own.
Not all groups had answers like these. There were some groups that missed the mark on parts of the activity. I think if I had been better at setting things up for students and reminding them of certain things along the way, those groups would have done better. However, I also wanted to see what these students would do on their own with this. This group of students looks to me for answers quite often, and they start to get uncomfortable when I don’t rescue the class by answering my own questions.