Trigonometry Unit Project


Many times in fields such as surveying, construction, engineering, aviation and many others, a length or distance must be calculated instead of being directly measured. To do this, people in these fields use concepts from trigonometry. They may use special computers to assist them, but it is all based on the ideas of trigonometry.

Your job as a group (of no more than 4 students) is to determine some specific distances using only a protractor, ruler, calculator (or trigonometric tables) and your knowledge of trigonometry.

Your first task is to calculate the distance to any two objects in the field east of the school. They may be power lines, houses, fences, cows, or whatever, just try to stay away from objects of which you can see more than 1000. (That is, rocks, dirt, stalks of grain, etc.)

Your second task is to determine the angle of elevation of the sun. (Just a hint: Please do not look directly toward the sun in doing this. Use the shadow of one of the people in your group.) Then, use this information to determine the height of an object that you are unable to measure directly. (For example, the school building, a light post, etc.)

Helpful hints:
Here are sketches of some triangles that you may find helpful.