Complex Numbers, Radians, and more!

Mar 25, 2008 by

Laura Shears (a fellow Michigander) has a great site of resources for the precalculus level called LSquaredMath. I haven’t covered much precalculus material on the blog because I haven’t taught precalculus for a while, but her latest update reminded me that I should pass along her website to you!

Laura has been working with Flash for a few years now, creating animations for mathematics. She suggested to me that I should attend the MAA PREP Flash course (which I did last summer) and it was my attendance that ultimately inspired the blog. Anyways, back to the story … Laura has been working on making all her material SCORM-compliant (that means it plays nice with the gradebooks in LMS platforms like Blackboard, WebCT, etc.).

Complex Number Graphing (both Cartesian and Polar)


Addition of Ordinates (if you’ve got a Smartboard, you’ve got to try this one in class, here’s a little video demo of how I’d use it in class)



Radian Target Practice



Radian Measure and the Unit Circle (a great review exercise for Calculus Students that don’t know their Trigonometry)

You will notice that Laura lets you use all of her material from the website for free, but does charge for a SCORM compliant version. Before you start complaining about that – note that Laura is an adjunct instructor and building this stuff takes a LOT of time.

If you’re interested in creating SCORM compliant FLASH material yourself, you should take a look at Laura’s help page for SCORM here.

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Nature grows sine curve computer components

Nov 20, 2007 by

I ran across this article about how a researcher, Ray Phaneuf, has developed a template that can be used to produce “self-assembling structures of atoms.

Recognize the curves on the template?

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Famous Curves Index

Oct 23, 2007 by

I found this nice website while looking around the website of a community college in Maine. The Famous Curves Index (published by a school of mathematics in Scotland) has 63 famous curves complete with equations, graphs (like this nice one of Fermat’s Spiral below), a short history of the curve, and a link to interactive Java code for manipulating the curve.
This one is the interactive Java code for a Hypocycloid (given by a parametric equation)… very nice!

What a great resource for Precalculus and Calculus classes. I will have to pull up some of these curves next week when we talk about implicit differentiation. If you’re teaching parametric equations or polar equations, this site would be great! I didn’t have any trouble getting the Java applets to work. Kudos to the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Scotland for a great collection of curves!

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