Day 134: The One Where We Estimate the Height of the School, Again

Out on Thursday for a planning day. Sub day went OK – most kiddos worked and one of the ones who was not fantastic the last time was much better.

That meant that Friday’s lesson was extra crammed (the other class got 2 days to do it, so we went a little faster in order to keep up). Whereas the other class spent one day measuring the angle between the ground and the sightline to the top of the school with an inclinometer and then one day writing about their results, we did both in one day. Which was quick but doable.

Photo: Estimating the Height of the School2015-03-20 18.25.50One of the phrases that I hear teachers at my school use a lot is “What do our students understand? What are they capable of?” It’s interesting to see where this goes with right triangle trigonometry. Finding the opposite side and the adjacent side seemed easy enough. But now there’s a lot of other little details: solving ratios, identifying hypotenuses, figuring out how the opposite and adjacent sides change as the reference angles change.

For many kiddos, identifying the current ratio (sine, cosine, tangent) and setting up the equation feels successful. This student work shows students who (with a lot of help) were able to identify the opposite and adjacent sides and set up the tangent ratio. It was late and we were out of time, so we didn’t actually solve the ratio. But I like that the students were able to show what they know.

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