I am teaching basic trigonometric ratios to my geometry class because its now part of the yearly test. I just introduced the ratios but I wanted to find a couple of activities that will allow students to see some real uses for it.
So after a quick search I found a couple activities that look like fun and show some decent applications of trig.
The first activity I found is one from Teach Engineering which has students use trig to figure out the width of a river. The lesson comes complete with everything needed from the learning objectives, to all the worksheets needed, ending with assessments and extensions. This site is created by the University of Colorado.
I wanted to know if there were other activities from this site I could use in my classroom, so I put trigonometry into the search engine and came up with 102 additional activities that use trig. Wow, 102 activities that look cool.
1. There is a hands on activity that uses the Lego Mindstorms Nxt technology to find the actual height of a triangle after the student calculates the height using trig.
2. Designing a spectroscopy mission which requires the understanding of trig and is done after they build the spectroscopy.
3. Solar Angles and Tracking systems so people can create the proper arrangement of photo voltaic cells for solar power.
4. Flying in Style which uses trig to find the height of the rocket that students built prior to actually doing this activity.
Online Math Learning which has some nice interactive games for students to play. I checked out the trigonometric ratios game to see how it worked. It requires people to set up the appropriate ratio for the angle given. Its a good way for students to reinforce the ratios.
Transum has a whole page of trigonometric activities including one that requires students to come up with the exact values of the ratios from the unit circle. I like the one called "Which Side?" because it requires the students to look at a drawing and classify it as opposite, adjacent, or hypotenuse based on where the arrow is pointing. This is great for the beginning part of the unit and it works on the iPads.
The Learn Alberta site has a couple nice interactive activities for trig. The exploring trig ratios has several different parts to it. The use it section is a mini-golf game where the student answers questions about the triangle in a step by step manner to earn the right to swing the club. The student works their way through the course until they are done. This is a nice game to help reinforce the basics.
I plan to uses several of these activities in my geometry class over the next few days. I'm always thrilled to find activities based on real life or are technologicaly based that I can easily integrate into my classroom. Check the sites out if you need things for trig.