Date: Apr 2, 1997 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: Why trig?
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.
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
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> 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 Coleman | (606) 277-7678 (Home)
> Mathematics Dept | 257-4802 (Office)
> University of Kentucky | 257-4078 (Fax)
> Lexington, KY 40506-0027 | email: email@example.com