Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer School - Day Twenty-Six - Projects

My summer school students are working on a couple of trigonometry projects. One is a completely contrived problem involving an intricate roof line. Students must calculate various lengths and angles. The other requires that they estimate and calculate lengths and angles in the classroom using a metre stick and clinometer.

I question the value of these projects. They are decent enough as review of the basic concepts. And it does set the topic in a real world context (sort of). But I don't think it really challenges the students to see how math is used in the real world.

This course is specifically designed for students who are going to enter the trades. It seems like a better use of our time would be to go to a construction site where they are building a roof and see how the carpenters solve the problems of lengths and angles. I'm not sure they are using a whole lot of trigonometry on the work site.

I wonder what a real meaningful project would look like.


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