Desmos Activity Builder

Written by Kara Osmundson

Last published at: May 27th, 2021

What is it?

Desmos Activity Builder allows you to create interactive digital activities then watch students work in real-time. You can create slides with a question prompt or task and assign the activity (slide deck) to your students by creating a Desmos Class. 

Desmos Activities are a math teacher favorite because you can build graphing tasks with the Desmos Graphing Calculator and there are lots of pre-made activities to choose from, but options like card sorts (view examples) and Polygraph (a digital Guess Who game) make this a tool that has been used by multiple subject areas in Shakopee.

Why use it?

The teacher dashboard makes it easy to share student work to allow students to see multiple ways to solve a problem from other students. Address misconceptions you see in real-time by pausing the activity and having a classroom conversation. Use digital manipulatives like graph screens, sliders, and card sorts to create tasks that allow students to make sense of concepts through exploration and discovery. There are opportunities for collaboration built in such as allowing students to see each others' responses and explanations (with the option to anonymize) or adding a Polygraph activity. You can also have students collaborate face to face while working on a task or send "experts" out around the room when you see they have a good strategy to share. Activities can be student-paced or teacher-paced.

How do I use it?

Written Directions: Create an Activity

Go to and look for the buttons in the upper right corner to either create an account or sign in. We recommend using your school Google account. You can create your own activity, share an activity with a colleague, or search for an existing activity, edit, and use it.


However you develop your Desmos Activities, we highly recommend using the Desmos Lesson Planning Guide to outline your activity in advance and align it with your learning targets and standards.

To search for an existing activity check out the Desmos Activities Getting Started Guide.

To create a new activity follow the steps below.

1. Under Your Activities in the left menu, choose CUSTOM. This will allow you to create a new activity or to view any custom activities you have previously created.

2. Click "New Activity" on the top right.

3. Add a title, select your share settings (you can change later), write a description (optional) then click on CREATE A NEW ACTIVITY.

4. Use the menu on the left to add items to your slide. Click the plus button to add a new slide. Add "Teacher Tips" for using the activity if you want to share with colleagues or make notes about what went well during the activity.

Visit Learn Desmos: Activity Builder to view explanations and examples for each element that you can add to your slides (shown in the left sidebar below).

5. Click on PREVIEW at any time to see what your activity will look like for students. Click the dropdown arrow to save your draft. Once you are finished creating, click PUBLISH. You can always go back and edit your work.

6. Assign the activity to a class (recommended - see directions below)

Or create a single session code and pick the expiration length.

Check out Desmos Activities Getting Started Guide and the resources below to learn more about building activities.

Visit Learn Desmos: Classroom Conversation to read more about managing a Desmos Activity in your classroom, including pausing, pacing, and anonymizing.

Written Directions: Create a Class

1. Click on MANAGE CLASSES in the left sidebar. Then click on ADD A NEW CLASS.
2. Enter a class name and click on ADD CLASS. 

You will see a class code that you can share with students. Follow the steps below to share it with your students and populate your Desmos Class.

3. Have students go to and sign in with Google. Do not share the code yet! Signing in will add students to your Desmos Class and will allow them to save and revisit work, view feedback, etc.

4. Once students sign in with Google, they will see the popup asking for their class code. Share the code and get started!
Check out Desmos: Manage Classes to learn more.

Additional Resources: