Today students used their trig skills to determine the height of the gym and a couple of other things around campus. it’s a pretty classic lab where they create a crude clinometer by taping some sort of mass to act as a plumb to a protractor and then use a straw as a scope. They measure the angle of inclination, distance to object, and their height and then they calculate how tall whatever they are looking at is. Many thought that the activity was pretty cool, and were totally surprised that the gym was only 30 feet tall as opposed to 60 or 70 like they had predicted.
I was more amazed at the large number of students who had a ton of trouble moving the concepts from textbook type problems to real world applications.