Developing a Project-Based (desmos) Linear Unit

I avoid projects like the plague.  

Coming up with deadlines, checking out a computer lab, grading the damn thing, dealing with absences, realizing my students don't know nearly as much as I thought they would... all things I loathe.  Do you know what it's like to have an 8th grader ask you how to graph a line in May?  It's something close to, but not entirely like, teaching a kid to dig a hole for 8 weeks and when given the task to dig they ask, "Do I dig up or down"?

I am ahead of the game this year, so I decided to try a desmos/linear art project.  Find a logo/picture you like, create a picture of it in desmos using linear equations, etc.  If it goes horribly wrong... no big deal.  

Here's what I noticed after Day 1

1.  This kid did more learning in one hour than the past 6 months.


That was enough for me to stop and take notice.  Next year will be different.

Teach an entire linear unit through this project.

Typing that out made me start shaking a little bit.  Where in the hell do I even begin?  What kind of questions will new 8th graders wonder about?  Where will they get stuck first?  Do I check out the computer lab for a week?  2 weeks?  Can they do it on their phone?  Should I cover vertical and horizontal lines first?  Do they even know what desmos is?

All I know is, I cannot, and will not, do another project at the end of a unit.  They forget what they knew (or what I thought they knew) and in the end... that tells me more about me, than my students.  Let's change it up.  I'm gonna start the unit with the project.  I'm gonna teach the unit through the project.  

I'm having a panic attack justing thinking about it.  This blog will document said project and panic.