June 10, 2011

SOHCAHTOA

Many of you have seen my amazingly awesome necklace that says SOHCAHTOA. I'm really glad I had it made, it has had a noticeable effect on all of my pupils (all years). My year sevens were really intrigued by it and really wanted to know what it meant, especially after I'd said, you'll learn about it when you're older! My smallest, cutest, highest-voiced pupil in year seven actually went home and researched it and came to me with a page of diagrams and calculations!

Walking through the corridor, I heard year 9/10/11 pupils saying "Her necklace says sohcahtoa!" and then, "What's sohcahtoa?", "It's where you have a triangle..." The pupils were revising in the corridors! Result!

Anyway, the purpose of this entry was actually to talk about the way we present the trig ratios to pupils. I've been told by HS that it's best to write sohcahtoa with the h under the o and the h under the a and the a under the o if that makes sense? But since tutoring some pupils one to one over half term, I've decided that I'm going to teach the ratios as formula triangles like they use in science. This is because I've found that grade B pupils find SOHCAHTOA questions hard, not because of the concepts are hard but because they cannot rearrange the equation sin 50 = 36/70. If you tell the them the trig ratios as a triangle, there's no rearranging involved.

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