Algebra Middle School Technology

Desmos Online Graphing Calculator

Recently, I have been noodling around with the Desmos Online Graphing Calculator.  I have used Texas Instruments products exclusively and extensively in my classes for years, but am always on the lookout for tools that are easy to use, functional, and (most importantly) cheap!  The Desmos calculator aligns quite nicely with my personal motto, “If It’s For Free, Then It’s For me!”

The calculator has an interface which is intuitive, and it’s easy to dive right in and start graphing:


Inequalities can also be graphed easily and nicely:


Trig functions are formatted in readable form as you type them, and you can choose to have the x-axis “count by pi”, which is a pretty cool feature:


Points can be traced.  Check out how the minimum here is communicated with appropriate symbols:


Yep, we can do piece-wise functions too:


What appeals to me about this calculator is that it is web-based, fires up quickly, and is ready to use.  This site should be on everyone’s links for students, shared on Edmodo, or whatever resources page you use.  While I love my TI software, it often takes too long to load, and you need to be a real Nspire user to navigate around.  The site is also usable with Ipads:

Horsham-20120502-00199, Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

But keep in mind that this is a stripped down calculator.  It graphs stuff, and that’s about it.  You’ll still need your TI’s to perform calculations, analyze data, or do more in-depth analysis, like intercepts or integrals.

Sometimes, less bells and whistles are better.

EDIT: check out the comments for news from Eli, founder of Desmos, who gives some more great information about this tool!


By Bob Lochel

HS Math Teacher. Hatboro-Horsham School District, Horsham, PA.

9 replies on “Desmos Online Graphing Calculator”

Awesome post — thank you! A few fun facts:
(1) you actually can do computations! Just type in a computation problem in the equation, and it’ll show you in the answer on the lower right of the equation box. You can even define variables and reference them:

(2) intersections & integrals are coming super soon…

(3) and regressions won’t be too much longer!

Send any ideas you have to calculator [at] We want to make it so that you never have to buy a calculator again — which means that we want to hear everything we need to do to truly make a handheld calculator obsolete!

ELI Founder & CEO of DESMOS, said:
“intersections & integrals are coming super soon…”.
That was back in May, 2012.
It’s now end of 2014
and DESMOS still has no INTEGRAL functions…Sad!
They are falling behind…

ELI: great competitors to Desmos are coming “super soon”…
with ALL the missing functionality of Desmos +more!

you should reply to Eli directly on twitter, @eluberoff. I am currently previewing regressions for the Desmos folks; can’t speak to where they stand on Integrals.

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