ALEX Lesson Plans
Subject: Mathematics (9 - 12)
Title: Imaginary numbers? What do you mean imaginary?
Description: Is it any wonder that students are suspicious? We lead, sometimes drag, them through Algebra I insisting they must follow the order of operations. We make them learn the "hard way" of doing an assignment one day only to show them the "short cut" the next. We give them difficult equations that require what appears to be nothing less than magic to solve. The one reality to which they've managed to cling is what "someone" told them a long time ago. . ."You can't take the square root of a negative number." Just when students are convinced we've been making all of this up all along, we introduce imaginary numbers.
This lesson is designed as a computer lab activity. If you're looking for a more traditional classroom activity, please see this lesson developed by Jerry Weeks: http://alex.state.al.us/lesson_view.php?id=11364
This lesson plan was created by exemplary Alabama Math Teachers through the AMSTI project.