SLCC – Change in Thinking?: Reflective Practice in Trigonometry


Trigonometryat SLCC is currently going through our internal process of becoming a General Education course for our Quantitative Literacy designation. In order to do this, the course must have a signature assignment that includes reflective writing. Kathy Eppler, who teaches and is the co-course coordinator for Trigonometry, revised and extended the reflection component that is typical for Trigonometry students. The signature assignment in this courses first year of being general education was choses to be the mass-spring modeling project. This project models the movement of a mass attatched to a spring. An example of a mass-spring model is a car’s suspension system. As the car travels over an uneven surface, the suspension system moves in order to keep the car stable and the ride smooth. When the suspension system is not working properly, the motion felt by drivers and passengers is an oscillation. This oscillation motion can be modeled by trigonemetric functions. Students are asked to conceptually model this phenomenon and then, in order to prove that they understand the concept, they are asked to find real world examples of the motion. The complete assignment description is in the “Supporting Materials” section.

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