On Teaching Trigonometry: Trigonometric Functions and the Unit Circle
Mathematics

On Teaching Trigonometry: Trigonometric Functions and the Unit Circle

Note: Thoughts expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s). Any advice given in this article may not work in all situations.  

OUTLINE

Non-acute angles
Generalizing the sine function
Tangent, secant, and so on
Now the unit circle
The sine as a function on the real numbers

SUMMARY: We talk about how to introduce your students to the general notion of a trigonometric function defined for any angle, acute or not, and we talk about how to use the unit circle to define trigonometric functions.

 

After you’ve spent some time practicing with your students and give them some time to work on exercises on their own, you may need to move on to other topics.

Now that you’re done working with evaluating trigonometric functions on an acute angle, it’s probably time to introduce evaluating trigonometric functions on an arbitrary angle. Much of the trigonometry you’ll cover may involve non-acute angles, so it’s wise to bring them in.

Non-acute angles

You may need to emphasize to your students the sine of an angle can be evaluated not only...

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