Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rational Trigonometry: a simpler approach to Trig

Rational Trigonometry is a new and simpler approach to Trigonometry developed by Professor Wildberger the University of New South Wales, Australia. The first chapter of his book, Divine Proportions: Rational Trigonometry to Universal Geometry, provides a relatively simple to understand overview of his approach. A quick review is also offered by Wikipedia.

If secondary education were to adopt this new approach, students will be able to study Trig without the difficult Sine and Cosine Laws and some other pitfalls of the classical approach like having to deal with irrational numbers - hence the name.

SAT Math scores are improving. But as an industrialized nation, the U.S. needs a robust supply of domestic scientists and engineers. While the question of U.S. engineering graduation rates vs. our international competitors is not totally clear, there is growing competition and an outsourcing trend.

Math educators should take a close look at Professor Wildberger's approach. The goal should be to reduce the level of frustration some students have in math studies; A frustration that may result in many of them not pursuing careers in the math, science and/or engineering fields.

This is one import Porkopolis fully supports.


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