Creative Ideas for How to Teach Trigonometry

Written by damon verial Google
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Creative Ideas for How to Teach Trigonometry
Without creativity, trigonometry can be a rigid subject for students. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Trigonometry is the study of triangles. Depending on the school's curriculum, trigonometry begins either before or after geometry, meaning your level of students may be uncertain. Regardless, there are creative techniques for teaching trigonometry to all levels.

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Songs and Chants

The subject of trigonometry is filled with formulas and equations that students need to memorise. The memorisation of these equations and formulas is neither an easy nor an entertaining task. You can make this memorisation process more palatable by providing your students with songs and chants that contain the information they need to memorise. If you have songwriting ability, change the lyrics of a popular song to be about trigonometry and sing it to your students. There are examples of such songs on the Internet. An even easier method might be to use a chant, which is basically some phrases with tempo added.

Mnemonics

Mnemonics is also particularly useful in trigonometry for memorising more abstract concepts and relations. For example, "SOHCAHTOA" is a common mnemonic in trigonometry, as it is easy to say ("So-Ka-Toe-Ah") and contains much information. This mnemonic allows students to easily recall how to calculate sine, cosine and tangent functions from the sides of a triangle. "All Students Take Calculus," with each initial letter capitalised, is also a useful mnemonic, since it teaches students how to know what functions are positive in each quadrant on the coordinate plane. For more information on these mnemonics, see the resources section.

Projects

One innovative way of teaching trigonometry is to mix math with creativity. Many modern educators have begun to assign students long-term projects as a way of allowing students to experience hands-on trigonometry that leads to cohesive learning throughout the term. Project ideas can be unrestricted, but at least give students project guidelines and ideas. Some examples of projects are posters depicting trigonometric laws, writing a song about trigonometry and creating a presentation about how certain exciting jobs use trigonometry.

Games

Games can be just as cognitively demanding as other forms of coursework. Let students gain personal experience with trigonometry by playing competitive games in the classroom. One example of a trigonometry games is a triangle scavenger hunt, where students explore an area in school, looking for triangles. The students must describe the triangle in terms of trigonometric traits.

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