CL Newsletter, October 2022 - Challenge Creator, Part 1

At Desmos Classroom, we strive to build a more socially engaging classroom and believe Challenge Creators can help accomplish that goal, giving students the opportunity to create a “challenge” screen that their peers can interact with. With the public release of Challenge Creator authoring, we’d like to share our guiding principles and tips for authoring this unique set of screens.

What makes a good challenge creator?

  1. High challenge variance. Give students the opportunity to create a challenge that is unique from others. Challenges should be encouraged to vary both in appearance and difficulty.
  2. High response variance. Students should be allowed different ways to complete the challenge. The best challenges reveal a gallery with a wide range of responses that a student can compare and contrast with their own.

The tale of two challenge creators

Challenge Creator 1: In Fit Fights, students create a unique and challenging scatter plot of their choice.

A scatter plot with the points grouped closely together in a line going across the graph from the bottom left to the top right.

A scatter plot with the points widely scattered in the shape of a line going across the graph from the top left to the bottom right.

A scatter plot with the points scattered in the shape of a parabola that opens down.

Then students create what they interpret as the line of best fit, and we give good, interpretive feedback.

A scatter plot with the points scattered in the shape of a line going across the graph from the bottom left to the top right. A line of fit goes matches the trend and vertical lines go between the line of fit and each point. On the bottom is a four-color meter (red, orange, yellow, and green) representing the accuracy of the line of fit with an arrow pointing barely in the green section with the words

A scatter plot with the points scattered in the shape of a line going across the graph from the bottom left to the top right. A line of fit goes matches the trend and vertical lines go between the line of fit and each point. On the bottom is a four-color meter (red, orange, yellow, and green) representing the accuracy of the line of fit with an arrow pointing in the middle of the green section with the words

Once they submit their responses, students are encouraged to compare their results with other students. Here, there is both a high challenge variance and a high response variance.

<img alt=“Thumbnails of three four-color meters (red, orange, yellow, and green) belonging to a different student and with a different label. The first, labeled " My Response”, has the arrow pointing well into green section of meter. The second, labeled “jay2” who is creator challenge, an slightly in third, “lisa”, meter." src=“https://hs-6634586.f.hubspotemail.net/hub/6634586/hubfs/c.png?width=1024&upscale=true&name=c.png” style=“outline:none; text-decoration:none; -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; max-width:100%; font-size:16px” width=“512” align=“middle” srcset=“https://hs-6634586.f.hubspotemail.net/hub/6634586/hubfs/c.png?upscale=true&width=1024&upscale=true&name=c.png 512w, https://hs-6634586.f.hubspotemail.net/hub/6634586/hubfs/c.png?upscale=true&width=2048&upscale=true&name=c.png 1024w” sizes=“(max-width: 512px) 100vw, 512px”>&upscale=true&name=c.png" style=“outline:none; text-decoration:none; -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; max-width:100%; font-size:16px” width=“512” align=“middle” srcset=“https://hs-6634586.f.hubspotemail.net/hub/6634586/hubfs/c.png?upscale=true&width=1024&upscale=true&name=c.png 512w, https://hs-6634586.f.hubspotemail.net/hub/6634586/hubfs/c.png?upscale=true&width=2048&upscale=true&name=c.png 1024w” sizes=“(max-width: 512px) 100vw, 512px”>

Challenge Creator 2: In Calculating Slope, students create a line, but their choice is significantly restricted. Every line passes through the origin and the coordinates snap to integers.

A graph with a line going through the origin and (5,3). The point (5,3) is labeled with a red dot and an ordered pair.

A graph with a line going through the origin and (2,5). The point (2,5) is labeled with a red dot and an ordered pair.

Then students enter the slope of the line before submitting their challenge.

A snapshot of a screen with the question

Here we not only include unnecessary restrictions on the challenge, but also do not encourage any response variation. In the end, only the correct numeric value matters. Calculating Slope does not make the cut of what we consider a good challenge creator.

Before you go on thinking that a complex challenge creator is the only way to create a good one, check this out.

How to build a Challenge Creator

Step 1: Add the Challenge Creator component to the screen. Add screens in the challenge creator left sidebar where students will make their challenge. If you have more than one screen, connect them using Computation Layer (CL) as needed so that all of the screens are dedicated to creating the challenge.

A screenshot of the challenge creator component from the editing view.

Step 2: Add the screen where the students will solve the challenge. Connect this screen to the screen(s) where students make the challenge using CL.

Tip: Before moving on, make sure your CL connections are all in place by previewing the activity.

Step 3: Create the challenge and response thumbnails.

Students see the challenge thumbnail in the class gallery. These thumbnails should provide a brief overview of the challenge setup.

A pink tile with the words

A turquoise tile with the words

A sketch of a graph that is formed from three lines. The first is the line y=1 between -5 and -1. The second is the line y=-x between -1 and 1. The third is the line y=-1 between 1 and 5.

A sketch of the graph of a negative sine wave that goes through the origin, has a period of 10, and an amplitude of 2.5.

Students see the response thumbnail after completing another student’s challenge. These thumbnails should provide a snapshot or description of the solution a student used to solve the challenge is appropriate here so students can compare their responses with others.

An orange tile with the expression the quantity of 9+6 divided by 3 plus 5.

An orange tile with a fraction that contains 3 times the quantity of 5+5 in the numerator and 2 in the denominator.

A sketch of a graph contains two piecewise functions. The first function is in blue and has three parts. The first is the line y=1 between -5 and -1. The second is the line y=-x between -1 and 1. The third is the line y=-1 between 1 and 5. The second is a piecewise function in red that is made of a parabola that has a vertex of (0,-2) and opens down. Straight lines meet the parabola at x=-1 and 1 with slopes of 2 and -2 respectively, extending the parabola downwards.

A sketch of a graph contains two curves. The first is a sketch of the graph of a negative sine wave in blue that goes through the origin, has a period of 10, and an amplitude of 2.5. The second curve is a reflection of the first over the line y=0 but in red.

You can select the component you wish to use for both the challenge and response thumbnails from the drop down menu.

If you wish to customize them further, you can do so using any combination of text, sketch, and graph layers in the challenge creator CL.

See The Documentation

Step 4 (optional): You can block challenge creation and submission using CL to prevent students from submitting an incomplete challenge or response. Similar to error messages, provide a condition and a message for the various reasons the challenge may be blocked. Otherwise, leave an empty string and the student will be allowed to move on.

The preventChallengeCreationReason sink locks students in the creation phase (everything except the final screen of the challenge creator).

A section of CL that reads: Prevent challenge creation reason: when the numeric value of the input is defined empty quotes, otherwise

The preventSubmissionReason sink locks students in the challenge phase (final screen of the challenge creator).

A section of CL that reads: Prevent submission reason: when the first, second, or third answer is selected in the multiple choice component empty quotes, otherwise