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Fourier series: a piecewise periodic function

Keywords: Oscillations & Waves, Fourier Series, Fourier Decomposition, Piecewise Functions, Small Group Activity


Highlights of the activity

  1. This small group activity is designed to help upper-division undergraduate students to understand piecewise functions and the Fourier Series.
  2. Students are assigned a piecewise periodic function and each group finds one coefficient of the Fourier Series.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on generating a Fourier spectrum from the Fourier coefficients.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

It is important to do as many examples as possible so that students can practice finding Fourier coefficients. Most students have rather weak or fragmented mathematics skills. Working in groups helps them tackle the mathematics, and it strengthens the skills of the students with stronger math ability.


Instructor's Guide

Authors: Janet Tate
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