About a year and a half ago I made this thing and shared it with a few teachers to misbehave with during a Dan Meyer workshop:
People liked it, so I made a few more.
Then I started work at Desmos and production STOPPED...
The last 10 months have taught me more about designing delightful interactions and giving meaningful feedback to students than I thought possible. Looking back at most of these activities I realize how shortsighted I was in designing the interactions. To be fair, these activities were never designed for classrooms (shame on me) and I've always maintained that they were a way for me to level up my Desmos-ing... But people were using them in classrooms, and it would do them a disservice not to improve the activities with some of the things I've picked up at Desmos. Check it out:
Create more polished displays:
I've learned to be more thoughtful about what students will do and what they will see happen. I'll still be tricky (this IS an escape room activity after all), but I'd rather that the tricks I employ look less like mistakes in creation and more like puzzles. Additionally, doing more than saying "Try Again" feels important.
Make screens less pointlessly frustrating:
I feel like not much needs to be said about why this screen needed a re-design, but I'll provide some purpose. Previously, students would miss the target and have no idea why. Basically, I included a range that I counted as a "hit" and anything outside of that range missed completely, even if a student was off by a very small margin. In the new version you have simple, specific controls and a clear goal. If a student misses, they are given the opportunity to correct or adjust.
Show instead of tell:
There were multiple occasions for the first activity to be more interpretive, rather than evaluative in the way I gave feedback. In almost all of them I opted for the easier form of feedback. Now, instead of telling whether a student is right or wrong, we can show students the consequence of their responses and allow them to make adjustments.
There were also some opportunities to use Desmos features that didn't exist last year. You might or might not like the updated screen, but I think this is the right place for the tech.
I probably won't be replacing all of the activities. Building these breakout activities are still just a hobby and I'll only work on them when I have time. Quadratic functions will probably be the next activity, timeline TBD. Until then, enjoy!