Home Schools Jr. Sr. High School SohCahToa – Using Trig to Solve Right Triangles

SohCahToa – Using Trig to Solve Right Triangles

Geometry students study right triangle properties as they prepare for the ACT.  After mastering Pythagorean Theorem and its converse, students worked with special right triangles (45-45-90 and 30-60-90) before learning a valuable trigonometry concept.  Right triangles exist everywhere!  Math skills allow us to apply our knowledge to life outside the classroom and beyond the ACT.  

SohCahToa is an acronym used to solve not only for sides of a right triangle, but also for angles.  Mrs. Petersen’s geometry students calculated the height of objects around Fairbury High School while using not only their calculator, but also a tape measure and clinometer.  The height of the classroom is 13′ 4″.  The height of the entryway to the building is 20′ and the flag pole is 35′.  

A popular question that Mrs. Petersen hears and answers frequently is “When am I ever going to use this?!”  As you may have experienced, story problems are challenging in a math class.  Labs are like a real live story problem!  Students enjoyed using a new tool, called a clinometer, to measure angles.  The frustration was not with calculations, but with the tape measure!  But hey!  There’s an app for that.
Marching our way up Bloom’s Taxonomy Pyramid for education, the next thing students get to do is create their own story problem using Adobe Spark.
Here is an example and this is another example.