Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trigonometry Ratios-Mnemonics

  • Students often use mnemonics to remember facts and relationships in trigonometry.
  • For example, the sine, cosine, and tangent ratios in a right triangle can be remembered by representing them as strings of letters, as in SOH-CAH-TOA.
    Sine = Opposite ÷ Hypotenuse
    Cosine = Adjacent ÷ Hypotenuse
    Tangent = Opposite ÷ Adjacent
  • Alternatively, one can devise sentences which consist of words beginning with the letters to be remembered.
  • For example, to recall that Tan = Opposite/Adjacent, the letters T-O-A must be remembered. Any memorable phrase constructed of words beginning with the letters T-O-A will serve.
  • Another type of mnemonic describes facts in a simple, memorable way, such as "Plus to the right, minus to the left; positive height, negative depth," which refers to trigonometric functions generated by a revolving line.

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