As the weather starts to improve there’s nothing quite like breaking free from the confines of your classroom and letting your students loose outside! Everyday this week I will be blogging about an idea to get your students up and out of the classroom…
Trigonometry in real life
This lesson has always gone down really well with my students. You need to have studied using trig for calculating missing sides and angles in right-angled triangles. I would split this into two 50 minute sessions (or some equivalent of this!) this is the Powerpoint I have used in the past – you could update it with pictures from around your school!
Present students with a question like ‘how could we work out the height of the school?’ (slide 2) and get them to brainstorm ideas. If you need to then show them slide 3 and guide them through the process of using trig. Then ask them how they might measure the length of the base and the angle. The rest of the lesson can be spent making the clinometers, some really clear instructions on a printable worksheet are available here. And designing their data collection table. You will need some trundle wheels or long tape-measures (raid the PE department!)
Group students into threes and off they go! You would probably want to place yourself somewhere central so you can keep an eye on them and you are available for help! In my experience it is also worth giving each group a little ticket you have signed explaining that they are meant to be out of class.
Back in the classroom after half an hour or so you can reveal the heights and get students to calculate the difference between their answers and yours, then they can calculate the average which you can compare to pick a winner. In with this you can discuss the accuracy of their results and even other applications.