Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Card Sort With Desmos Classroom

A digital way for students to organize and analyze information.

Laura Young | Published: November 6th, 2023 by K20 Center


Card Sort

This strategy is used in a variety of ways to organize prior knowledge about a concept or topic and has students practice argumentative communication by debating their answers with a group or partner.

Card Sort
Desmos Classroom

Looking for math-notation-friendly activities or digital activities for any content area? Desmos Classroom has premade activities and lessons, and you can create your own or modify one you find.

Desmos Classroom



Welcome to this Tech-Integrated Strategy tutorial. Whether you are teaching online or in a face-to-face setting, learning in the modern classroom often benefits from the digital mediation of educational activities. 

In this video, you’ll learn how to implement the Card Sort instructional strategy using the Desmos Classroom tech tool.

Card Sort is located on the K20 LEARN site under the Instructional Strategies tab. This strategy asks students to organize prior knowledge about a concept or topic and communicate it with a partner or group.

Desmos Classroom is an online tool that enables users to interact with information in multiple formats. You can view the Desmos Classroom Tech Tool card on the K20 LEARN site under the Tech Tools tab. 

Desmos Classroom can also be used to implement the Card Matching instructional strategy. Card Matching is located on the K20 LEARN site under the Instructional Strategies tab. 

In the how-to section, you will receive hands-on instructions for how to set up a Card Sort activity using Desmos Classroom.

How-To Guide

In this how-to video, we will show you how to set up and create a Card Sort activity using Desmos Classroom.

Step 1

First, navigate to Select “Create Account” or “Sign In” if you have an existing account.

Step 2

Select “Sign up with Google” or the method that works best for you. 

Step 3

On the left side of the screen, select “Custom Activities.”

Step 4

Next, select “Create a New Activity” located in the upper right corner of the screen.

Step 5

In the text box, create a name for the card sort and add any necessary descriptions. 

Step 6

If you are creating a math activity, there is a button to add equations located in the “Activity Description” box.

Step 7

Click “Create New Activity” to start building the card sort.

Step 8

Locate “Card Sort” in the activity options. 

Step 9

Click where you see “Add a title or instructions for your students” to add instructions.

Step 10

Select what type of card is needed for your sort. For this example, I am going to start with an image. Find and click the “Image” option.

Step 11

After the “Image Card” appears on your card sort, click “Add an image by dragging it here or clicking upload.” 

If you are using images, it is best that you have them ready to use.

Step 12

Repeat as many times as necessary for the amount of images needed.

Step 13

If you add too many cards, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the extra card.

Step 14

Click “Delete” on the card that is not needed.

Step 15

Now, we are going to add the text for students to sort. Locate “Math or Text” from the options and click it.

Step 16

After the “Text Card” box appears on the sort, type in the necessary text.

Step 17

Repeat as many times as necessary for the amount of text cards needed.

Step 18

If the card sort needs an answer key, click on “Add Answer Key.” If your card sort will be open-ended, you can skip to Step 23.

Step 19

To sort the cards, click on one and drag it on top of the card you want to group it with. 

Step 20

When the unclicked card is highlighted in purple, you can let go. It will not matter which order the cards are in once connected.

Step 21

Repeat this process as many times as necessary for your card sort.

Step 22

When all of your cards are sorted, click “Done.”

Step 23

To edit the name of the activity or add a picture for the icon, click on the title in the upper left corner. 

Step 24

Click on “Add an image by dragging it here or clicking to upload” and select the image you would like to use as the icon. 

Step 25

Click “Save” to return to the development of the activity.

Step 26

To check your card sort activity, click “Preview” in the upper right corner.

Step 27

Drag and drop one of your cards to group it with another. When you see the unclicked card highlighted in purple, you can drop the selected card. 

Step 28

Repeat until all of your cards are sorted.

Step 29

Look at one of your card groups. If you click on the top card, you can move the entire stack. 

Step 30

If you click on the lower card, you can detach it from the group.

Step 31

If you added an answer key, check that now. The check button looks like two circles with a checkmark and an “X.” Clicking it will show correctness and allow students to make any necessary corrections. 

Step 32

As you can see, two of my groups are incorrect. 

Step 33

Now that I have swapped the incorrect cards, all of my groups are correct.

Step 34

Click the “X” to close the activity preview.

Step 35

If you are finished creating your card sort, you can now click “Publish.”

In the Facilitation portion of this tutorial, you will learn how to implement this strategy in your classroom.


Step 1

By using Desmos Classroom to create and implement a Card Sort, students can organize information presented in different ways.

Step 2

Once you have selected the activity for your class, there are two ways to have students participate. Both of these start with clicking the “@Assign” button on the selected activity’s page. 

Step 3

If you have created a Desmos Classroom for your students, you can click “Assign to Your Classes” and select the appropriate class. Classes can be imported from Google Classroom or students can enter a code to join the Desmos Classroom.

Step 4

If you do not want to create a Desmos Classroom for your students, you can select “Single Session Code.” 

Step 5

On the selected activity’s page, click on the pink “Dashboard” button for the created session. This will take you to a different page with a pop up of student instructions for joining the activity.

Step 6

Once students have joined the activity session, click “X” on the pop up to be able to see the “Snapshots,” “Summary,” “Teacher,” and “Student” buttons at the top of the page. Toggling between these will give you additional information as students complete the activity.

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