Trigonometry is often a part of mathematics that many students struggle with because they find it too abstract to understand the practical applications of this field. My 10th grade mathematics class was recently introduced to right-angled trigonometry and as we talked about its various applications including bearings, 3-D shapes and angles of elevation and depression, I decided to take them outside the classroom to apply these skills.
The task that was given to them was to create a ‘how to’ eBook on how to find the height of a really tall building without physically measuring the building. The students were told that they had one week before they were taken to a very tall building in the downtown Boston area and were asked to measure the height of this building. I assigned my students into groups of three to four students each and gave each group a budget of $15 to buy the materials required for this activity.
This pdf contains the student instructions as well as the rubric for this activity. I encourage you to view the following video on youtube as well as the final e-book product from one of my students using the links below:
Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuArGhSiv4Q
eBook link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/how-to-measure-height-really/id642846199?mt=11