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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Geometry or Trig first?

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From: Marcia Aguero

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001032116:28:12
Subject: Trigonometry in sophomore year?

Hi.  My daughter is a sophomore in high school, and is struggling in
trigonometry.  Because her school is on a semester system, she has
already taken algebra I, geometry, and algebra II.

I am wondering if a 15-year-old is mature enough to handle
trigonometry.  With her semester system, I had two options when she
started high school - Slow down the rate at which she learns math, by
having her take only one semester-long math class per year instead of
two, OR, I have her all the way up to trig by the end of her sophomore
year.

I chose the second option, because she is a smart kid, math is her
favorite subject, and I felt strongly that you can't learn math
effectively if you have large gaps of time in between each class.  How
can you retain your math if you take a class from September to
January, and then not until September again?  Does this semester
system really work for math?

Technically, if she passes trig, she will have fulfilled all math
requirements for high school, but it doesn't seem right for her to
stop now, especially since she likes it.  So she will take some
electives in the next two years - pre-calc and calc.

Opinions, please?  Am I asking too much of her to handle trig at her
age and grade level?

Thanks,
-Marcia

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