Understand the Sine Function by Dancing It

In Where Mathematics Comes From, cognitive scientists George Lakoff and Rafael Nuñez assert that our understanding of abstract mathematical concepts relies upon our sensory-motor experiences:

“For the most part, human beings conceptualize abstract concepts in concrete terms, using ideas and modes of reasoning grounded in the sensory-motor system. The mechanism by which the … Continue Reading ››

complex-iteration

Iteration in the Complex Plane

The cover story of the April 2014 issue of Mathematics Teacher is on "Iteration in the Complex Plane", by Robin S. O'Dell. It sounds like pretty advanced mathematics, but is surprisingly accessible with The Geometer's Sketchpad. It's all based on the surprising principle that you can multiply two complex numbers very easily if … Continue Reading ››

Simultaneous Equations in Elementary School? You Bet!

Algebra classes devote considerable time to equations in a single variable before solving multiple equations in two or more unknowns. But just because elementary-age students are not familiar with algebraic symbolism doesn't mean they can't solve simultaneous equations, too! The mathematician and educator W. W. Sawyer makes a compelling argument for the … Continue Reading ››

Eigenvectors of 2 x 2 Matrices: A Geometric Exploration

Shiva Gol Tabaghi obtained her PhD degree in Mathematics Education from Simon Fraser University in 2012. This guest post is based on her doctoral dissertation research. Presently, she is involved in teaching undergraduate mathematics courses at Simon Fraser University. She enjoys using dynamic geometric diagrams to influence students' ways of thinking about mathematical concepts.
If you’ve taken linear algebra, chances … Continue Reading ››

Discovering the Angle Sum and Difference Identities

In my Advanced Methods class at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, my students are working in groups to create shared lesson plans using an inquiry approach. For a number of reasons it can be challenging for these pre-service teachers to identify appropriate topics for student inquiry, but sometimes the brainstorming they do turns into something … Continue Reading ››

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