Video: Three activities to engage your students in learning about trigonometry

In her latest video for Teacher, Mathematics teacher Holly Millican shares the resources for three activities she has implemented in her classroom to engage students when learning about trigonometry.

‘I find with trigonometry, it’s one of those topics where the Maths starts to get a little bit more complex and you tend to get that level of disengagement from your students because they get so embroiled in the Maths of it all that they go “well, I can’t have fun with this subject because I’m finding it too difficult to simply get the concept”.

‘So the activities that I’m going to take you through today really just kind of move them away from that worksheet work and into something that’s a little bit more hands on, a little bit more collaborative, and really gets them working with their peers on those basic SOH-CAH-TOA unit circle type skills to really get a firm understanding of this topic.’

In the video, Holly shares three activities: Tabletop Math, Trigonometry Relay, and Paper Plate Unit Circle.

For Tabletop Math, Holly prints out a range of questions at a range of difficulty levels which students can complete for one, 2 or 4 points. In her classroom, Holly will run the activity by giving students a set score they need to achieve before finishing (for example, 15 points) or a time limit in which they need to get as many points as possible.

Trigonometry Relay is a group-based activity where teams of 3-4 need to work together to complete questions that have been placed around the classroom within a time limit. ‘It’s a really great activity for identifying misconceptions as well,’ Holly says in the video. ‘Because the students are not only trying to answer a question correctly and quickly, they’re working with a team to do so. So their teammates can turn around and go, “hey, I don’t actually think you’ve got that one correct, let’s look at why you’ve chosen to do it that way”’.

The third activity, Paper Plate Unit Circle, is used by Holly to focus on degrees and radians. ‘This activity is absolutely wonderful for really starting to build that connection between the coordinate plane and the unit circle, the degrees and radians,’ Holly says in the video. ‘I’ve found that the visual of using these triangles on this paper plate in this way has really solidified this concept for my students …’

Click the links below to access the resources for two of the activities mentioned by Holly in this video:

Watch video:

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you never miss a video.