## Friday, July 24, 2009

### Visualizing Numbers Real and Imaginary

In the video below I try to give some of the "patter" I use when I introduce the idea of "i" for the first time. I think that there is a great benefit in doing it this way because it helps strengthen their understanding of what real numbers do as well. It also emphasizes that numbers often get paired with operations. I actually could make that clearer. Anyway, feel free to steal this introduction to use in your own classes.

## Thursday, July 23, 2009

### Visualizing Complex Numbers

In my continued quest to spread an understanding of complex numbers I put together this little dance sequence with my Summer School Algebra 2 students. I used the function f(x)=(x-1)^2+1 determine the dance sequence. This function has two complex roots (1+i) and (1-i). I had students stand at 1+i, i, -1+i, 1, -1, 1-i, -i, and -1-i, then we went through the three steps of the function. These were "minus 1", "squared", and "plus 1". The most important visual here is to get a sense of what squaring does to the complex plane. This includes some expansion of the numbers with distance greater than 1 and a wrapping of plane on top of itself. Watch the video and let me know what you think?

## Tuesday, July 21, 2009

### How is a function like a recipe?

I was talking about function notation with my students, and trying hard to differentiate between f, f(x), and f(x)=x+3. The metaphor that I tried was recipe. Does anyone else have a good metaphor that helps to distinguish these concepts?

### Sneetches = Inverse Functions

Teaching summer school today. I had a student not understand what f(f^(-1)(x))=x was trying to say. I was searching for a process that would help her understand doing and undoing. And then it hit me. Sylvester McMonkey McBean.