Polar Graphing Exploration

Over the weekend I wrote about an alternative launch to my Precalculus polar graphing unit. After that first lesson, I decided to throw out my usual “Day 2 Notes” and replaced them with a six-part, Desmos-driven exploration.

I started by having students fire up Desmos, working in a 2:1 arrangement (two students per screen). While they got that ready to go, I distributed a stack of printer paper to each table. I’ll cut right to the chase here, since the directions are included in the graph:


I find that adding a folder called “Directions” is like waving a big red flag and shouting, “Do NOT read this!” My favorite direct approach is, “Read this first.”

(My favorite reverse-psychology tactic is to put the directions inside a folder at the top titled “Top Secret!” The “success” rate for students opening up such a folder is pretty fantastic. Or depressing. I suppose it depends on your perspective.)

At any rate, here are a few screens from the exploration:


polar-graphing-exploration-2 polar-graphing-exploration-3 polar-graphing-exploration-4 polar-graphing-exploration-5


Interested in tinkering a bit on your own? You can access the exploration sandbox here:


Post Script

Why the 5 in bit.ly/polar-5, you ask? Because it took me five tries to get it right. 🙂

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Here’s something I stumbled across on the Twitter after creating the exploration described above. (Thanks to Desmos for the tap on the shoulder.) Lots to love in David’s approach. Check it out for yourself:

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