Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Playing with the Numbers - Section 2: Set the Stage


Unfortunately a flat tire kept our video crew from capturing this discussion on film so I'd like to share one of the highlights.  My students were definitely intrigued by the graphing on the board, but most still struggled with the connection between the unit circle they'd learned about in earlier classes and the graphs of sine and cosine functions.  I tried referencing the right triangle trig we'd just reviewed but still got blank looks.  It was almost as confusing for me to figure out what they were missing as for them trying to figure out what I was trying to explain.  Finally, an example from physics of the graph of a falling object accelerating at a constant rate helped most of my students see that the graphs of the trigonometric functions were derived from what was happening to the ratios as we "moved" through the degrees (or radians).  I'm not entirely sure why it helped, but what one student said to me was that he now "gets trig graphs" because they're just moving the points forward from zero.  Maybe I'll never be certain of my students depth of knowledge, but at least we have a common starting point now.

  making connections
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: making connections
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Playing with the Numbers

Unit 10: Trigonometric Functions
Lesson 1 of 13

Objective: SWBAT explain the periodicity of sine and cosine graphs and predict the effect of transformations on sine and cosine graphs.

Big Idea: Students transform equations and graphs of trig functions to earn points and win the game!

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playing with numbers
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