Putt Putt Golf

Desmos, Games


I got the itch to create a few Desmos games after reading through some of Nora Oswald’s blog. That combined with Masters fever and Fawn Nguyen’s miniature golf problem led to the following.

The Game:

I decided to create a putt putt golf game using Desmos graphs. So far, I’ve set up four holes.

My initial thought for the game is to have the students create linear equations that hit different points on the boundaries until the ball goes in the hole. This will allow them to explore linear equations with domain and range.


I like this activity because there are multiple ways to approach the equations. There isn’t simply one correct answer. For example, in the picture above, the student could have gone to the left instead of the right. Other variations of the equation would have worked as well.

The game could also be used with simpler concepts as well. Instead of using equations, students could simply choose coordinates where the ball needs to hit and then put them in a table. I set up the ball to have a trailer line in order to display the path taken (credit Desmos for that idea). This will allow the students to determine the slope of the path taken by the ball if the teacher wants to go that direction with the lesson.

Trailer Line example

Finally, in order to really ramp up the task, the teacher could have the students create their own hole for others to play on.

What suggestions do you have to improve the game? Would you like to create a hole as well? Feel free to leave any comments.

Desmos Activity Builder:

With the launch of the amazing Desmos Activity Builder, I made (with the help from the Desmos team) a new and improved version of the activity. Here’s the link:

After doing the lesson in class many times, I’ve found that students get confused pretty quickly. So, to try to counter this, I tried to lower the entry point by starting with more basic graphs. From there, I had the students complete some analysis questions to get them thinking about potential strategies for the official putt putt course.

This lowered entry approach helped quite a bit during the latest implementation of the task, and students were more ready for the challenge. Check the lesson out and let me know how it can be improved! I’d like to continue to make it more accessible to all learners.

Update 4/12/14

Desmos offered a great idea (I linked their hole above):

Update 4/15/14

Another good find by Desmos. A fun intro:

2 thoughts on “Putt Putt Golf

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