Feb 18, 2022

NGPF Podcast: Desmos's Meaghan Maguire and NGPF's Kathryn Dawson and Dave Martin on making fun math activities

Making math relevant and engaging is a goal that math educators strive for. In this podcast, you will hear Meaghan from Desmos explain how their digital math activities help students love math. This ethos also drives the math curriculum team at NGPF which has been developing a Financial Algebra course. NGPF's Kathryn Dawson and Dave Martin share how they use Desmos to create activities that students love as well as explaining their creative process. Enjoy! 


  • 0:00~1:25 Introduction
  • 1:25~4:21 Meaghan’s background and working at Desmos 
  • 4:21~6:30 Kathryn and Dave’s work on the Financial Algebra Course
  • 6:30~14:38 Desmos’s mission, offerings, and partnerships
  • 14:38~17:43 NGPF’s decision to include Desmos
  • 17:43~20:28 Support available to Desmos users
  • 20:28~23:03 Process of including Desmos activities
  • 23:03~23:49 A word from NGPF
  • 23:49~27:55 Curriculum team’s process creating the Financial Algebra Course
  • 27:55~30:17 Teacher response to the Desmos activities
  • 30:17~35:55 Equity focus and elevating student voice
  • 35:55~38:12 Getting student feedback
  • 38:12~38:53 Conclusion



  • “It’s hard sometimes to get kids to buy into the math. And so introducing the Financial Algebra course is a big step of saying: here’s the math that you need to know and also here’s some context that you can use to apply it immediately.” -Dave

  • “Especially if you are doing digital learning, it doesn’t have to be flat. It can be really dynamic and really interactive -- the more we’re pressing into that, we’re at our best.” -Meaghan

  • “We treat it [the Financial Algebra Course] very similar to how we treat most of our curriculum development. We go into it thinking about what learning outcomes we want, what are the big meaty questions here, and I think Desmos gives another layer to make it more interactive.” -Kathryn


NGPF also has a Math Collection that includes activities that incorporate statistics, percents and functions. 


 Data Crunches are one chart or graph followed by five scaffolded questions. Check them out here. 

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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