Desmos Curriculum FAQs

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Learn more about the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum:

 

The Big Picture

Is the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum aligned to standards?

Absolutely! The Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum aligns to the Common Core standards. We are starting to work with specific states to adapt our curriculum to their standards. If you’d like to learn more about that work, please reach out to us directly at curriculum@desmos.com.

Is the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum core or supplemental?

The Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum is a full and comprehensive core curriculum. The units have been built to reflect a full-year course of study for each grade in middle school.

Does the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum cost money?

Yes it does! While much of what Desmos provides is and will continue to be free, our curriculum should be compared to other core curriculum offerings. In addition to supporting the curriculum’s ongoing development and maintenance as a paying customer, you’ll receive access to comprehensive curriculum materials and our dedicated coaching and support.

Is Desmos a certified Illustrative Mathematics curriculum provider?

We have deep respect for IM and continue to draw strong inspiration from all of their work. Because we are working on adapting the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum based on real-time feedback, we aren’t pursuing the certification at this moment.

If you’re wondering about the similarities or differences between IM and the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum, here is the alignment between IM paper and our Math 7 curriculum, and IM paper and our Math 8 curriculum.

Are you rated by EdReports?

Not yet! While we haven’t yet been independently reviewed, we’re based on the Illustrative Mathematics Middle School Math curriculum, which has excellent ratings from EdReports. Our curriculum follows IM’s structure for units, lesson learning goals, and assessments.

When will the Math 6 Desmos Math Curriculum be released?

The Math 6 Desmos Math Curriculum will be released on a rolling basis and will be implemented by teachers throughout the 2021–2022 school year. We used the same model with Math 7 this past year, and it worked great!

 

Equity and Accessibility

Is the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum accessible to students with learning differences?

We design the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum using Universal Design for Learning (we also do this for our Desmos activities). Custom accessibility (i.e., writing image/video descriptions and adding graph/sketch narration) is available in select lessons within Math 8, and we are working hard to include it throughout Math 6 and 7 and the rest of Math 8. We’re eager for feedback from teachers who work with students with learning differences and who will help us meet our mission to help every student learn math and love learning math.

What supports are provided for students who are newcomers or who are learning English?

The Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum is designed to be paired with Mathematical Language Routines. Specific student supports can be found on screens throughout each digital lesson and in the lesson guide of each paper lesson. Our digital lessons make animations, images, and interactions more accessible to students learning English.

What supports are provided for visually impaired and blind students?

Desmos’s tools are designed from the ground up with accessibility in mind. We comply with the WCAG 2.1 standards at the AA level wherever possible, and go beyond where we can. Please see www.desmos.com/accessibility for details on our approach, as well as for instructions on setting up screen readers. For details on WCAG compatibility within our classroom tools, please see our Classroom WCAG 2.1 Compliance chart.

The lessons in our curriculum make use of our accessibility features, including dynamic narration for interactive elements. Where a lesson or interaction isn’t accessible for a vision-impaired or blind student, we offer guidance on an alternative approach. Most of Math 8 lessons and a small percentage Math 7 lessons include custom accessibility, and we are working to apply custom accessibility to the rest of the curriculum.

For questions about accessibility, please reach out to our accessibility team at accessibility@desmos.com.

Where can I go to learn more about the Desmos Equity Principles?

Here are our company-wide equity principles, which guide us in our work of ensuring that the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum serves all students and teachers.

Can this curriculum be used for distance learning?

Yes! To navigate difficult decisions that can come up when teaching in a hybrid or distance-learning model, our lesson developers created Remote Facilitation Guides. The guides offer tips to support students in making as much of their time as possible given that some content will need to be skipped. Here are a few examples:

 

 

Technical Requirements

What is the recommended bandwidth to run Desmos lessons?

At least 200 kbps per student.

What browsers do you support?

We support the most recent two versions of every popular browser on ChromeOS, Windows, and Apple devices. For a complete list, please see our article on Browser and System Requirements.

How many devices will I need for students?

For in-person learning, we recommend having at least 2:1 devices. Students do not need to have access to devices outside the classroom. For distance/hybrid learning, we recommend that every student have their own device.

How does Desmos handle data privacy?

We are FERPA and COPPA compliant and support Google SSO. Please see our extended privacy policy and how we handle student data. If you need us to sign a data agreement, feel free to send us an email.

What LMS systems does Desmos integrate with?

Desmos Classes is fully integrated with Google Classroom, but many of our schools use other LMS systems with success. If there is a specific LMS that your school or district uses, please let us know!

 

Curriculum Components

What standards and mathematical concepts are covered in the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum?

The Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum is Common Core–aligned, and work is in progress for state-specific alignments, including TEKS.

To learn more about the standards covered throughout the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum, check out the documents below:

What resources are available to support teachers, administrators, students, and families?

There are resources to support everyone’s needs and interests in each unit.

The Unit Facilitation Guide supports teachers as they plan and implement a unit. It includes information about how the unit builds on prior learning and how it informs future learning. You’ll also find the big ideas of the unit, lessons by standard, and a brief summary of the purpose of each lesson along with other details that may be helpful for planning. Here is a sample Unit Facilitation Guide.

The Admin Guide supports instructional leaders in making sense of a unit. It contains the big ideas of the unit, connections to prior and future learning, and samples of what you might see and hear throughout a unit. Here is a sample Admin Guide.

The Student Goals and Glossary is a reference that includes student-friendly learning goals for each lesson as well as definitions of vocabulary words along with examples. Here is a sample of the Student Goals and Glossary.

The Family Resource contains explanations of key concepts so that students and families have common language. It also includes exercises for students and families to try together. Here are samples of a Family Resource in English and in Spanish.

How much digital vs. paper work is there for students?

In general, we don’t start building lessons saying to ourselves, “This one needs to be paper or this one needs to be digital.” We ask ourselves, “What medium would most benefit student learning here?” So in lessons where we’re able to represent mathematical ideas with animations and let students power contexts through their mathematical ideas, we use digital. In lessons where students would benefit from moving around a classroom, manipulating paper, or sketching, we use paper. The current balance is roughly 80% digital lessons and 20% paper lessons. Each digital and paper lesson also includes access to paper or digital practice problems and printable student notes. All assessments are also available on paper.

How long does it take to teach each lesson?

We know that schools have a wide variety of programming models, and the Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum is adaptable to various class time formats (with some teacher decision-making about how best to do that). Most Desmos lessons are designed to take 45 minutes.

My class is not 45 minutes long. Is that okay?

Of course! We have lots of teachers with block schedules and shorter class periods using our curriculum. It just requires additional teacher time to determine how to stretch or squeeze the lessons into your bell schedule. You can copy and edit the activities to fit into your class period.

 

Licensing Questions

Even though the curriculum costs money, is Desmos still free?

Yes! Desmos has a commitment to never charge for parts of our service that are currently free. Our calculators will remain free forever, as will Activity Builder and free activities available at teacher.desmos.com. Many of the improvements that we make for building our curriculum will also become free. By purchasing the Desmos Math Curriculum, you are contributing to improving the free Desmos capabilities for everyone.

How much does the curriculum cost?

Our curriculum is a yearly recurring cost, based on a per-student model. If you’d like a quote, let us know at sales@desmos.com.

What’s included in the cost?

The license cost includes both access to the entirety of our core curriculum and programmatic support. See more info here.

Can I start a free trial to see the Desmos Curriculum in action?

Yes! Reach out to us at sales@desmos.com to request a free trial.

 

Program Support

What program supports are included?

We’ve added built-in professional learning support, directly in response to feedback from our hundreds of pilot teachers over the past few years. Each site will also have a dedicated Desmos National Coach, onboarding webinars, unit overviews, and more. For even more specific details, you can also check out what’s provided as part of the program here.

Does Desmos provide additional professional learning support?

Yes, we can provide additional fee-based professional development for those who are interested. Check out our professional learning page to learn more or feel free to email us directly.

Is there a community where teachers and administrators can connect?

Yes, there is a Desmos 6–8 Math Curriculum Facebook community where teachers can connect and share their experiences with the curriculum. There are also opportunities to join Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) with other teachers using the curriculum, which builds tons of community!

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