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

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 George Yanos Posts: 38 Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Why trig?
Posted: Apr 1, 1997 12:17 PM
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Addressed to: Jack Roach <jroach@neosoft.com>
math-teach@forum.swarthmore.edu

** Reply to note from Jack Roach <jroach@neosoft.com> Tue, 1 Apr 1997 10:32:49 -0600 (CST)

> This may be so but first I would like to see a few examples of "real-
> life applications of mathematics" as outlined above which a student
> could understand at the time he was taking the course to which the
> example relates.

It isn't clear to me that they have to be terribly real. Comets, for
example, are handy when talking about elipses. For instance, how
far away will the current comet be before it starts back again?
Finding the perihelion(I'm guessing on the spelling and I'm sure the
spell checker will have no idea, but it is the closest point to the sun
in the comet's orbit) and the orbit's eccentricity is a quick look on
AltaVista (.914 au and e=.995).

How far away will it be before it turns to start back? 11th graders in
pre-calc took a few minutes thinking about it before they got these
numbers to give them the axis lengths, but they all got it and were
interested in the whole thing while they were working on it.

But there isn't much real world about this. Actually, I've yet to see
this particular comet (Chicago weather ...) and many of the 11th
graders never did see last years.

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