We recently began trig proofs. I love trig proofs. To me they are a joyful puzzle.
My students don’t quite share my sentiments.
Today I heard: “I don’t know where to begin“, “This takes too long“, or “Show me what to do and I’ll do it“. Friday I worked out some examples. Students worked out examples. They worked together. I walked around and offered guidance. My suggestions included: finding a common denominator, factoring, using the identities (I gave them a sheet with them all listed – I’m not assessing their ability to memorize). Today was more of the same. We’ve seen multiple methods of proving the same thing. I find joy in this – yay, there’s more than one way! The students seem to find this annoying.
Aside from the open-endedness of the steps, what is giving them the most problems is the dreaded f-word.
One student summed it up pretty well, “The darn fractions finally caught up with me.”
I don’t know how to “teach” proofs. They want a step-by-step procedure. Unless I’m missing something, there isn’t one. Just play with it. Try something.
I haven’t taught trig proofs in several years but I really enjoyed opening it with some six degrees of [x movie star].
Like, connect Tom Cruise to Tom Hanks.
And then pointing out through the absurdity how there isn’t a formula for these kinds of problems.
Nice. Totally trying that tomorrow. Thanks Dan! Yet again.
I looove trig proofs!
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