Technology Tools Implementation Idea – Desmos and Symbolab

Subject Area:  Mathematics

Course:  Grade 12 AP Calculus and Vectors

Topic: Multiple Topics (Differentiation, Integrals, Graphing, etc.)

Task: Studying for the final exam

Technology Tool:  Desmos Graphing Calculator and Symbolab


The final exam for the Grade 12 AP Calculus and Vectors course is a comprehensive one that requires students to have a thorough understanding between concepts and theories. More than having a basic understanding, students must be able to correctly and efficiently apply differentiation, integration, and other principles in graphing, calculations, and word problems. In preparation for this exam, Desmos and Symbolab would be handy tools to confirm answers and test hypotheses with instant computerized graphs and step-by-step solutions.

Suggested Use of Technology Tool

At the end of a study session whereby a student reviews material and completes questions related to the above topics, Desmos and Symbolab can be used to confirm answers to unsure questions, and also allow students to test their hypotheses for alterations of the same type of question.

For instance, Desmos could be used to graph any mathematical equation, and allows multiple equations to be graphed at once. The quick visual representation would also demonstrate the points of intersection, and relationships to other graphs that may otherwise be unknown. In addition, Symbolab could be used to a show step-by-step answer for a complicated integration. The student would be able to determine if they made an error along their thinking process, and where that mistake was made.

Why and how would the technology tool improve student learning?

Reviewing without Desmos and Symbolab makes it difficult for students to self-learn and study, as they would not have a way of finding their own mistakes and learning to fix them. Desmos and Symbolab aids with calibration, since students would be able to more accurately gauge where and why they went wrong, and determine which topics to allot more time studying. It also encourages the use of interleaving, since the exam is interdisciplinary evaluation approach that combines all the covered topics. In using Desmos and Symbolab – where Desmos is more useful for graphing and Symbolab for displaying solutions – students can incorporate various types of questions in their studying and improve their overall memory retention.

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