What we had in mind
Goals of this activity
Students will be able to...
We have designed Polygraph to foster the pleasure and the power of words without the drudgery of the lists.
With Polygraph, Desmos provides tools for developing informal language into formal vocabulary. Because words should result from a need to describe our world—this is where they gain their power.
And we also know well the pleasure of having just the right word handy at just the right moment—what the French call le mot juste.
Before you put students on computers, make sure they understand the premise of the game. We do not recommend playing a sample round with the class, as the first round involves the computer asking questions of all of the students (a fact we do not reveal until they have finished the first round). You could easily, however, play a low-tech version—show the array, pick your hexagon, have students ask questions aloud, respond, et cetera.
Starting in the second round, we pair students with each other. One student picks the hexagon and answers questions, the other student asks the questions and tries to identify the chosen shape. Between rounds, students answer questions that focus their attention on vocabulary and strategy.
Observe and talk with students as they play their rounds. Use those conversations, and what you glean from the teacher dashboard to keep track of which features students notice and discuss.
There are a couple of ways you can wrap up this lesson. You could end it by playing a round against the class. Invite discussion of the ideas and strategies behind the questions your students ask. (And then play a second round — if you can guess the class’s suspect in fewer questions than they guessed yours, you are the reigning Polygraph champion!)
As an alternative, you could use the teacher dashboard to identify some interesting questions that students asked as they played, and bring these questions to their attention. These might include use of vocabulary you want to introduce or examples of students noticing things about the suspects that most did not.