The Problem:Students have trouble knowing what to do with trig. expressions and problems using identities
So many students know what they need to do to simplify or solve a trig identity, but they do not understand how to solve or simplify the problem. So, I've tried a few different solutions, and these work for most students.
Solution #1: Have the students review fractions on their time or on your time before introducing trig identities
I know, we are teaching high school, or college in my case, and we should not have to go over this, but here we are! I suggest tackling this issue one of the following ways:
1) The night before starting trig identities, send them home with:
a)My review sheet, find it on TpT or on my free resources page(go to the home page and sign up for my email list at the bottom of the page for access.).
b) Use several review sheets from kutasoftware.com
i)An adding and subtracting fractions worksheet and
ii) A multiplying and dividing fractions worksheet(I tell my students to skip the mixed numbers.
i)A subtracting fractions video and
ii) A multiplying fractions video
iii) Dividing fractions by fractions video
This is an easy fix and doesn’t require a lot of your time.
2) Spend 10 minutes of your class time reviewing fractions yourself.
I would just pick whatever you think your students would respond to best and what you have time for. I’ve done both, and as long as I do a refresher, my student’s test scores will go up overall. Just make sure you give them time to practice and not just show them examples.
Solution #2: Give them more homework/classwork, and give it in small sections
Teach this in steps and give more homework in this section. Think about it from their perspective. It is math in words only. Their brains shut down when that happens! Also, showcase to the students in your class that this is a section where the “algebra minded” students can shine.
1) Use a worksheet for just translating from one function into another. It sounds redundant, and it is, but try it out. This way the student start to get familiar with the terms before manipulating them.
2) Use a easier simplifying identities worksheet next. One that only has 1 and two step problems.
3) Now use a worksheet that requires more steps. My students love this worksheet that I created because it guides them through the problems with hints on the left side and actual problems on the right side.
Check out kutasoftware.com for free worksheets for your class. I am not affiliated with them in anyway, but I have been using their stuff since 2010 and I love it. They also have a paid version if you are looking for a worksheet solution for your class.
Solution #3: Make sure they know how to identify the problem types
This sort of goes back to them understanding fractions. When I explain these problems I tell them the following steps:
1) Covert everything to sine and cosine.
2) Decided what type of problem it is. Are you multiplying fractions? Are you adding fractions? Do you need to substitute an identity? What kind of "normal" fraction does it look like? Do those steps.
I'm in the process of creating a Kahoot and PowerPoint demonstrating these steps. I'll post it in the free resources section when it gets created.
Let me know if any of these tips help your students, or if you have any tips you would like to share with me!
Hi! I'm CoScine Creative. I have developed and run a tutoring center at a small college. I also teach some of their algebra and chemistry courses. And I will neither confirm nor deny pranking my students by pretending to be one.