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Cliff Lee Packman
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Post Number: 219
Posted on Monday, 21 January, 2013 - 12:06 pm:   

Just thinking aloud. I've just fininshed teaching complex numbers upto roots of unity and De Moivre's theorem.

At the same time I've got to write a Maths Education assignment for university so was thinking of doing it about the teaching of complex numbers in highschool. (I teach IB HL, but I know it also appears in A-Level Further Pure though IB doesn't cover loci problems.)

What I was thinking of was people's ideas of activities to promote students familiarity with complex numbers system?

From my perspective it's a nice topic because of the many links with trigonometry, symmetry and the fact that so much follows logically with relatively little pre-requisite knowledge.

How can we assess inductive reasoning (pattern spotting) in this topic rather than simply using standard techniques?

My other question is that as the roots of unity form a cyclic group does anyone know of any practical use of these groups so as to allow students to practically use complex numbers?

Hope this makes some sense to people.
Kind regards,
Cliff Packman
Emma McCaughan

Post Number: 4854
Posted on Friday, 25 January, 2013 - 12:42 pm:   

Any ideas, folks?

I like the choice of topic to explore, Cliff. I haven't actually formally taught complex numbers since the 90s, although I have fond memories of doing them with a Further Maths group who were doing Single Maths concurrently, and whose first encounter with trig double-angle formulae was through de Moivre.

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