Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

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

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Tim Corica Posts: 7 Registered: 12/4/04
Re: Why trig?
Posted: Mar 31, 1997 1:39 PM

Sharon:

Trig is easy to defend! Any physical situation where two actors don't
meet at right angles or are parallel requires trig. This include
virtually any realistic mechanics problem (cars on hills, the
trajectory of a baseball or rocket, bridge design, road design, TV
picture tube design, etc.) and many optics problems (sunlight falling
on the earth, for instance). Taken a step further, understanding many
kinds of motion and vibration (sound, light "waves", vibration of
guitar strings, etc.) depends upon the "sine wave" - the solution of a
differential equation for simple harmonic motion.

Now, try defending integration by parts.....

--Tim

Tim Corica, Director of Academic Computing
The Peddie School
Hightstown, NJ 08520
tcorica@peddie.k12.nj.us
http://www.peddie.k12.nj.us

Subject: Why trig?
Author: hessnesh@hugse1.harvard.edu at Internet
Date: 3/31/97 12:55 PM

You are teaching a group of skeptical high school students trigonometry and
they need to know "Why do we learn Trigonometry?"

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