Complex and Imaginary Battleship!

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SWBAT add, subtract, multiply, and divide complex numbers.

Big Idea

Students work to master operations with complex numbers while sinking their classmate's ships!

Battleship Lesson Explained

1 minutes

Blank Battleship Templates and Classroom Set-Up

1 minutes

The goal of this lesson is to fine-tune the skills that we have recently spent a great deal of time emphasizing at the conceptual level.  Skill building and attention to detail (MP6)  are important in mathematics, and this activity will allow the students the time to practice this at their own pace – and competitively (MP3). 

Pre-Class Preparation (sample shown in color copies)

Copy the Battleship templates on 4 different colors of paper

  • Blank templates have been attached if you with to create you own problems or use this strategy in any other lesson
  • Templates have also been attached that are complete with problems for this section

Place the corresponding papers in folders to hand to the students

  • They can use the folders as dividers between themselves, so that they can’t see each other’s ships

Classroom Set-up

  • It is important that the desks are set up such that the students can face each other – and a divider must also be built in between these desks (I usually just use a folder) so that the students cannot see each other’s papers. 
  • Optional Suggestion:  I found it to be very helpful to foster an atmosphere of collaboration in this activity (MP3).  To achieve this, I made certain that the desks were not only facing each other, but also lined up in a way such that students could collaborate with peers on same side of the table.  That is, although students work individually, each side solves the same problems for their shots at the opponent - who sits on the other side of the table.  This allows the students to offer each other support when I am helping students in another area of the classroom.
  • Supply Needs1) markers or colored pencils (2 per person) and 2) colored copy paper (4 different colors)

Scaffolding can be readily provided throughout the period as the teacher rotates the room to answer questions.  The students will also support each other (those who share the same boards) in their mission to sink all of the other person’s ships.

NOTE: Technology Suggestion: 

I found it very helpful to use my IPAD and AppleTV to show the students how to put ships on their paper, and well as to direct their attention to specific problems for instruction.  All you have to do is take a picture of the Battleship papers and you are ready to go!


Let's Do Battle!

40 minutes

What if students finish early?

5 minutes

Obviously, the battleship games will finish at different times as the students work to sink each others' ships.  As groups finish, I instruct them to work through the remaining problems on their sheet for submission for a grade.  Although I do not assign them as homework, this could also be part of their assignment for the night.  I prefer to collect all student work so that I can see how they used their time during the class period.   

In my experience, Battleship takes 10-12 minutes to set up and most of the class period to complete.  Students do not usually finish with very much time remaining in a 45 minute class period, however, it is always good to have a plan in case they do!