Reflection: Vertical Alignment Evaluating Trigonometric Functions - Section 2: Evaluating


When students are evaluating special angles, I typically show both the unit circle and special triangles as students solve. I care more about my students being able to understand the usefulness of these angles, than using a specific technique for a specific problem. Many of my students find one method preferable, which is fine because they think differently and have different interests. I try not to put my preferred method for a problem as the "method of choice." I am more interested in helping them to identifying how they see the problem.

In my view, the Common Core is not about all students mastering particular methods. It is about all students being able to approach, persevere with, and solve problems that include the content in the standards. Giving my students the opportunity to learn to think about problems in different ways, helps them to approach the level of mathematical fluency in the CCSS.

I know that there is a lot of discussion about the importance of memorizing the unit circle or special triangles. It is my experience that calculus instructors (and teachers in other advanced math classes) do not care how the students find the values of the trigonometric function, but that they find the correct answer and understand its meaning.

  Unit Circle vs. Triangles
  Vertical Alignment: Unit Circle vs. Triangles
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Evaluating Trigonometric Functions

Unit 7: Trigonometry as a Real-Valued Functions
Lesson 8 of 13

Objective: SWBAT find the value of trigonometric functions in the coordinate plane

Big Idea: Understanding how to use the coordinate to determine the value of a trigonometric function is important when solving problems.

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