Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Worksheet Wednesdays - Trigonometric Trickiness

For this week I have a fairly basic in-class trigonometry activity, having students develop a deep understanding of these ratios, and to use them in application questions. During lecture I completed a number of 'naked' examples, without an authentic context. Here I have them start solving application questions using trigonometry with some fairly basic questions. I do include one question that increases the difficulty, but with a few hints dropped students seemed to get the basic idea.

As students work on in-class activities I usually go around the room and answer any questions they have. I do so using the Socratic Method, answering their questions with questions. They usually find this annoying, me answering their questions with questions, but over time I have noticed that students become more thoughtful with their questions. They anticipate how I will answer their questions, and so modify their phrasing so they are not just asking for numbers of values, but for methods. Near the end of an activity I will hear many more "How do I..." type questions than "What is the value for...". This demonstrates a greater appreciation of method, something I think is the goal of all mathematics educators.

Right Triangle Trigonometry - Students first confirm a few trigonometric ratios for a randomly drawn right triangle, and then answer a few application questions. Granted, it is only two pages, but if this is done the first day the sine, cosine, and tangent functions are defined, it will take 30 minutes to 1 hour.

If you have any feedback, or if you use these worksheets, let me know! Feel free to post a comment below, or email me directly.

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