Mnemonic For Remembering Formulas for Sin, Cos, Tan
Date: 05/15/98 at 19:00:31 From: Don Burd Subject: Trigonometric ratios. When I was in high school, my trigonometry teacher told us a story that helped us remember the formulas for sin, cos, and tan. I have forgotten the story. The punchline of the story was something about the name Chief Sohcahtoa (SOH CAH TOA). Please help me if you can. I would like to know the story so I can use it in my own classroom. Thank you. Don Burd
Date: 05/18/98 at 12:01:03 From: Doctor Pat Subject: Re: Trigonometric ratios. Don, Here is the version I tell my students. It is sort of an accumulation of add-ons that have come from year to year. A young brave, frustrated by his inability to understand the geometric constructions of his tribe's battle dress, kicked out in anger against a stone and crushed his big toe. Fortunately, he learned from this experience, and began to use study and concentration to solve his problems rather than violence. This was especially effective in his study of math, and he went on to become the wisest man of his tribe. He studied many aspects of trigonometry; and even today we remember many of the functions by his name. When he became an adult, the tribal priest gave him a name that reflected his special nature -- one that reminded them of his great discoveries and of the event which changed his life. Because he was troubled throughout his life by the problematic foot, he was constantly at the edge of the river, soaking his aches in the cooling waters. For that behavior, he was named Chief Soh Cah Toa. OK, it's corny. Kids will hoot and boo, . . . and remember it. Feel free to embellish this with your own personality, and eventually it becomes YOUR story. Keep at it. These kinds of stories are part of the culture of mathematics that give it some of its richness. -Doctor Pat, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.