This activity will get your students to understand difficult concepts about sine and cosine graphs:
• Where does this graph even come from?
• Why does the graph repeat itself infinitely?
• How do different numbers effect the graph when they are inserted into different places in the equation?
This is one of my favorite activities to do in the trigonometry unit. After students learn about the unit circle, including positive and negative angles in radian form, this activity creates the perfect transition to graphing sine and cosine waves. The activity is laid-out step-by-step so that students can follow the instructions without a teacher by their side. It is an outstanding small group activity, but I have used it as a homework assignment, as well.
All you have to do is make the copies, cut out the "unit rulers," and hand them out. The next thing you know, you have a classroom full of actively engaged students who are working together to discover what this wacky-looking graph is all about. Sound too good to be true? Try it, and you will become a believer, too! I have also included an optional graphing calculator activity that helps students discover for themselves what happens when A, B, C, & D change in the equation y=Asin(Bx-C)+D.