## Thursday, March 5, 2009

### Tangents and Sines

My trigonometry class is one of my favorites. (It is so hard not to have favorites.) The students have a variety of personalities, and though we work very hard (it is a concurrent enrollment, or college trig class taught at the high school), we also have a lot of fun. I am afraid that I am the very worst at getting us off topic, or off on a "tangent" as we always say.

Anyway, today we were learning to "verify trig identities" which basically means using other identities (which are like formulas) to prove that things are true or equal to each other. The process involves using a lot of trig functions or ratios called "sine", "cosine", "tangent", etc. It is a difficult process and can be very frustrating for the students to figure out.

As I was working through an example on the board, one of my clever students said in teasing frustration, "bad sine" (in the way you might say "bad dog").

I replied (teasing that I was angry), "Hey, who are you calling bad? My initials are SIN" (an abbreviation for sine, pronounced like "sign").

Student (shrinking into his chair): "Oh, sorry, I didn't know." :)

The class kind of chuckled and off I went into one of my "tangents".

Me: "Actually, when I was dating my husband, one day he said, 'Do you realize that if we get married your initials will spell sin?' "

Class laughing.

Student (same clever one): "Maybe it was a sign.." (everyone laughs harder, including me)

Me: "You just don't even know how funny that is."

Ah, I love my trigonometry class!

Vanson said...

I laughed the whole time while reading that.

There is just something about math humor :)

Damon In CO said...

Oh that I had a teacher like you when I was in highschool...one who could've recognized my delimma as a MoHo and would've have been able to give me some help and guidance.

~Damon

Ian said...

Sounds like you have a lot of fun with your students! I know in my seminary class my senior year we were known as the ADHD class. We were so bad, at paying attention but we had the most fun!

Sarah (Serendipity) said...

Vanson, I'm glad someone can truly appreciate the humor of it.

Damon, good to know you are around. You may not have had me then, but it seems like you've found your way okay. I'm glad I can be your friend now, even if it wasn't soon enough.

Ian, you found me! Yes, the most fun (but sometimes also the most frustrating) are the ADHD classes. I know exactly what you mean!