The Trig Unit Your Students (at least you will) Love



I love teaching Trigonometry. It has an arc that my brain can follow. It feels rigorous, 

but knowable. Here is how I plan out my introductory lesson for Integrated Math 2 or 

Geometry: If you just want the project, skip to the end. (But then

you miss Boat Balls). 

Day 0: Any Pythagorean Thing you want to do. I found a hokey Alpine Skiing Slalom course 

that the Ss had to figure out the side lengths for going down a hill. From TES. Link here 

(so you get all of chapter 4 that I don’t use, but the PDF is in there). 

This was an assessment day for similar triangles and proportions, so that is why I called it Day 0.

Day 1: Everyone made a 20-70-90 right triangle. We named the opposite and adjacent. 

(The hypotenuse is the hypotenuse is the hypotentuse!!!!) We put them on the VNPS and 

looked at everyone’s ratios and noticed and wondered. We the  looked at a 

0 degree to 90 degree trig table (sine, cosine, tangent only) to notice and wonder further. 

Then we took summary notes. Again, I have a silly worksheet–they did 6 problems 

and I gave them the answers (not in order) on a GS. We made a big deal of which sides are opp, 

adj and hyp and annotated the problems before they left. 

Love me Jamboard!

Day 2: Then we got real! There is ONE wheelchair accessible ramp at out school.

 (In front of Early Childhood). Every team got a yard stick and were sent to see if the ramp was 

ADA compliant. That was there only instructions. Most figured out to use the chart and work 

backwards. Some figured out to use the calculator and the INV key. 

We came in and compared notes and determined that there must be something more accurate. 


Day 3 was the inverse operation to give the angle given the sides lengths.

Day 4: We started with watching Boat Balls. Yes! Boatballs! (stopping and starting) and 

asking what do we notice and wonder? What do we need to know? What do we know? 

What is going on??? Then we annotated a silly worksheet that had a mix of everything on it. 

Then we learned about angle of 

depression and angle of elevation (or nether) and did some silly word problems

Day 5 we downloaded the AnglePro App. We went outside and students needed to measure 

the height of the flagpole, the height of the columns, the height of the columns in the library 

and one other thing, complete with drawings. 

Their CYU work was something I found in Ghana in 2009 or 2010 Called In the Park. 

The Students did this work and then had to draw in something that required the Pythagorean 

Theorem to solve. (So six Triangles) 

Day 6: PROJECT!!!! (I added they could make it digitally) 

 (At his point a DeltaMath Take Home Assessment was given due int 5 days time–a chipper) 

In groups of one, two or three, Students needed to create their own, “In the…” 

Magic happened! They got 2.5 days to work on them in class. Here is the rubric.

Make sure to check the sketch work before they commit it to the project. 

At the Met
Att the Christmas Market

We will see how much they remember from a three week winterbreak 

(First time kiddos were allowed to travel, so we got an extension for return quarantine if 

necessary). Happy New Year. If you use the project, please let me know how it goes.

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