Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Angela, a teacher:

I am a teacher and I desire to show the students the real-life application of trigonometry.
Of course, one application is to use a clinometer and find the heights of various things. However, I am trying to provide a real-life scenario which also answers the question "why" the height of the object needs to be found. Not being an engineer, I do not know the specifics examples, but I want my information to be accurate and my example to to be as real-life as possible. I mean, I can say that someone wants to know the height of a flagpole; however, I also want to answer the question "why" they want to know this. I would like to give an actual real-life scenario. Do you know of some?

Hi Angela,

From time to time Quandaries and Queries receives questions from people who have mathematical questions in their day to day or work situations where the solution to the problem involves the use of trigonometry. You can see some of them if you go to the Quandaries and Queries page on Math Central and use the Quick Search to search for the term math beyond school trigonometry. Look at the items that are returned.

Another source of uses of trigonometry is our Math Beyond School section. Go there and use the search tool to search for the term trigonometry.

I hope this helps,

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