Developing Meaning in Trigonometry

Valerie May, Scott Courtney


Trigonometric concepts and ideas continue to be an important component of the high school mathematics curriculum. In spite of its importance to both high school and advanced mathematics and science, research has shown that trigonometry remains a difficult topic for both students and teachers. In this article, we describe a sequence of activities designed for students to identify relationships between the sine, cosine, and tangent functions; we derive trigonometric identities related to the sum of angles; and we connect trigonometry to other areas of mathematics. The sequence of activities is designed to support students' development of coherent trigonometric meanings by building on students' prior knowledge in an active learning environment.


trigonometry; trigonometric functions; trigonometric identities

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