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Topic: Why trig?
Replies: 21   Last Post: Apr 3, 1997 4:17 PM

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hessnesh@HUGSE1.HARVARD.EDU

Posts: 6
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Why trig?
Posted: Apr 2, 1997 11:15 AM
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Great list. I thank all who have sent suggestions. I am thinking of
copying all of your suggestions and using this as a basis to discussion
with my students.

Sharon Hessney
Fenway Middle College High School

On Mon, 31 Mar 1997, Don Coleman wrote:

> >
> > You are teaching a group of skeptical high school students trigonometry and
> > they need to know "Why do we learn Trigonometry?"
> >
> > Unacceptable answers:
> > 1. It's the next unit in the book.
> > 2. The curriculum committee says you have to.
> > 3. It's on the SAT.
> > 4. Mathematicians find it "elegant."
> > 5. In case you ever need to know the height of a flag pole.
> >
> > Thank you.
> >
> > Sharon Hessney
> > hessnesh@hugse1.harvard.edu
> >
> >

> How about:
> 6. It's on all the calculators, so it must be important.
> 7. Trigonometry is important in engineering mathematics.
> 8. It is formalization of important fundamental ideas.
> 9. The law of cosines is a very nice generalization
> of the Pythagorean theorem. This is not something
> that falls under 4. only. It does, but it is a
> genuinely useful problem solving tool.
> 10. A lot of kids ask "What is this trigonometry stuff?"
> 11. It is a good place to use reasoning skills with
> a small number of identities to remember.
>
> One can make similar negative statements about just about
> any topic.
>
> I have no right to say any of this since I have not taught
> trigonometry for years. However I use it every day.
> Don
> --
> Don Coleman | (606) 277-7678 (Home)
> Mathematics Dept | 257-4802 (Office)
> University of Kentucky | 257-4078 (Fax)
> Lexington, KY 40506-0027 | email: mtbb0@ms.uky.edu
>
>






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