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School: Ithaca High School
Project Title: Trigonometry Mini Golf
Class: Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry
Project: How do trigonometry concepts apply to real-world situations? About 65 IHS students used math to develop a plan to achieve a mini-golf hole in one. Teams of students investigated trigonometric ratios, calculated angles and distances to “solve a triangle,” and drew out replicas with plans to conquer the course using mathematical principles, showing the path the ball would take to get there. They learned how measures of angles are determined by ratios of sides instead of individual side lengths, revised their plans based on peer feedback, and presented their work to the class before taking a trip to a mini-golf course to test their plans.
Field work: The class traveled to Syracuse Glow Golf, which has several simple holes, to make measurements and test out their theories. The trip helped improve students’ appreciation of mathematics, reasoning skills, and piqued their curiosity for math. It also provided context to a subject that can be hard to grasp for some students, helping them create a new relationship with math.