Are your students struggling with understanding basic trig functions? Are you looking for something simple that will both excite your students and strengthen their basic trig skills? If you answered yes to any of those questions then this "trig lab" will be perfect for you! Before starting this your students should be familiar with sin, cos and tangent and finding missing side lengths.
I created this lab knowing that most of my students have cell phones. In order to complete this lab you will need some type of clinometer or inclinometer which measures angles. There are basic ones that look like protractors or you can now download free apps such as "U-Clinometer" from iTunes that will allow you to digitally measure your incline. You will have to decide what works best for your classroom but I suggest using the cell phones or perhaps iPads. Once you download the app, you can place the phone on its side and it will measure the angle of incline.
You can take your students around the school or outside and have them measure things like ceiling height, flag poles, trees, bleachers, etc. The goal is to use trig to find indirect measurements that are too large to measure by hand.
This download contains space for 5 separate objects. By my estimation that would take more than a typical 40 minute period but you will have to estimate your goals for your own class. I used this over the course of 2 days to take the kids outside and also discuss the directions and results.
**Hint: If you are always having them measure heights of things instead of the distance away from things you will be using the tangent function the entire time.
If you are pleased with this download I would appreciate any feedback you would be willing to leave!
Be sure to check out my other products too! Thanks and happy teaching!
by Dana Burrows McCaskey
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License