Trig is. . .

Last year I asked my kids to tweet me using #trigis. I got some great responses (in < 140 characters).  This year, I asked them to respond to that in one word.  Here are the results:

I love that the most common response was "interesting"!!!

I also asked them to tell me what their favorite and not-so-favorite parts of trig were. I love seeing what they thought!

Their responses:  (My emphasis added in bold.)

What I enjoyed about trig:
**That once you understand all of the rules and the unit circle, it is not as bad as some people think it is. I especially enjoyed it since I got 100% on the last three quizzes. I also liked all the projects we did.
**Everything adds up. It makes so much sense how all of the concepts are related.
**The easier units: vectors, reference angles, trig identities.
**Using things like the unit circle to solve real world problems.
**The amount of work that relied on itself from an earlier section or chapter.
**The geometry aspects and the fact you can use multiple ways to get the right answer.
**You could visually check your answer by comparing it to a triangle.
**It was interesting how it all tied together. Also there was no factoring.
**Adding up the vectors (those were easy).
**Everything we learned connected with one another. It wasn't just learning different things that didn't have anything to do with each other. There was a lot of algebra which I'm pretty good at.
**Its essentially the same stuff over and over, just worded differently and in different formulas
**I enjoyed the more algebra type stuff with solving or reducing. The last quiz was nice, and I enjoyed Unit Circles and knowing what they are.
**The ending, and the last quiz.  (you can't win 'em all!)
**When I finally understood something, it was fun. I could do it quickly and enjoyed it.
**I enjoyed using soh cah toa, complex numbers with the (cis) thing, identities, and vectors.
**There were a few units that I actually understood, which allowed me to appreciate the complexities that make up math. Some of them were pretty darn cool!
**When it clicked, everything was easy, and all I had to do was plus numbers into a formula.
**I enjoyed the unit circle once I understood it because it just kind of came to me
**"~the unit circle - I've got that thing memorized!
**~sine and cosine graphs - easy if I remember what to look for"
**The parts of trig that were a little easier.
**Once I learned the unit circle, it came easier and made sense whether I did well on the tests or not. Physics is a lot easier because of all the trig we did. Sin/cos/tan comes much easier to me now than it did before.
**Despite my complaining, at least it makes sense logically. It was pretty easy to make connections back to geometry and while I wasn't a huge fan of geometry at least it made sense.
**There are many real world applications.
**Sinbad and cosette!
**I really enjoyed verifying the trig identities because it was very logical, like a puzzle.
**I liked the triangles and parts like that because there was a physical diagram that made sense with the math.
**I finally understand sine and cosine, as well as log functions.
**The laws.
**It understood most of it. It's very straightforward with lots of pictures and equations. Also, so much of it was applicable to real life situations that it made it more interesting to learn.
**I liked figuring out how everything relate back to everything an it was just a puzzle to solve.
**Getting answers right, or when I "got it".
**vectors unit
**It is just kind of plug and chug.
**you built on the same concepts- things you learned you used again later
**It was completely different from all the math I had previously learned. Some of the same techniques were used but for the most part it was new. And once I figured out how to do whatever we were working on, I enjoyed it a lot more.
**I really liked the unit circle stuff and cos, sin, tan!
**Most of the equations were easy to remember.

What I didn't enjoy so much about trig:
**Probably the unit circle and having to remember all of the formulas to find different stuff.
**Forgetting the check my calculator's mode.
**The hard stuff: solving cos/sin, parametric & polar equations, trig forms, verifying identities.
**Memorizing the unit circle and having to relive some of the bad memories from geometry.
**Coming directly from AP physics which makes it almost impossible to focus, and sometimes work.
**Bearings and so many different rules and formulas
**I forgot pretty much everything from geometry so it was difficult to catch back up.
**The unit circle was hard to memorize.
**Everything but the vectors (at least they were ok!)
**It was super confusing with a lot of different formulas
**Having to remember all of those equations and remembering when to use them.
**Although it includes a lot of algebra, it's much different than any other type of math we've learned. Also, there were a lot of fractions because of the unit circle, and memorizing the circle was not the most fun thing I've done.
**when the fundamentals were switched around (Example: during bearings, Tan was adjacent over opposite not opposite over adjacent)
**unrealistic real life applications
**the geometry aspects
**"The word problems were terrible and I see no real world application whatsoever because computers can probably do all of that now anyways."
**Unit circle, standard and trig form, identities, arccos stuff, graphing sin, cos curves, roots of i, six trig functions, reference and coterminal angles, and word problems. Other than that it was fine. (what's left?!)
**It took me a while to understand things. It was difficult but worth the work.
**I did not enjoy graphing trig functions, things such as the (arcsin) stuff, and solving trig equations for x.
**"When I didn't understand something no matter how hard I tried, or how much help I got, or how many notes I took, I did get a little bit frustrated. Identities will be the death of me. "
**It didn't make sense very often.
**"~arc tan sin csc identity stuff - super confusing, I still don't really know those identities
**~roots - that equation stuff confuses me
**~MAKING DUMB MISTAKES - I've never done it this much so I blame trig's complicatedness.."
**Having a lot of situations that trig has to be used in, and keeping them all straight.
**Memorizing all of the formulas was difficult and how to get started on certain problems. Once we moved on to the next unit, I often forgot how to do previous problems from the unit before. I often didn't know what the question was asking so I didn't know how to start it.
**So many formulas and if you switched even a little letter it kind of ruined my whole test.
**Memorizing the formulas that went along with the trig.
**Remembering the equations, and graphing them.
**I did not like bearings. The slight differences and figuring out the correct placement of the angles and sides was difficult.
**I didn't like problems that were completely conceptual.
**Graphing sine and cosine equations.
**The beginning of trig- the end of trig. It wasn't always fun!!
**Remembering all of those formulas! There were so many of them, and they all changed depending on whether you were using sine or cosine or tangent. Also, bearing were pretty cool, but they completely messed up my mental picture of zero degrees.
**Sometimes it was hard to remember all the equations or all the different techniques to solve the problems.
**"Getting answers wrong, or when I didn't ""get it"".
**graphing tan and cotangent graphs
**Having to remember all of the equations!
**memorizing the unit circle; bearings; many formulas to keep track of
**Trying to figure out how to do everything. Because it was so new, I felt like a child being taught something so simple, but sometimes I just couldn't grasp the concept of trig which was frustrating.
**The weird rules and the area, angle, and side laws of sin and cos.
**The amount of equations that we needed to remember.

So, the good?
Applications. It was new. It was like a puzzle.

The bad?
Memorizing formulas. I tried my best to help them derive those formulas (so they didn't have to memorize) but kids aren't used to doing that. Also, Geometry. But there's nothing I can do about that. :)


  1. Is there a way to make that graphic quickly? It is b-e-a-utiful.

  2. I had all of their answers in a google doc, so I just copied that column and inserted into wordle. I may have had to do a little editing, but I definitely didn't type those in myself! :) And then you can play with the arrangement and colors.

  3. Sinbad and Cosette is the most amazing story to ever grace the world of math. It has become a staple of Pre Calculus teaching at our school and we are forever grateful.


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