A smart precalculus teacher is having students build and use clinometers to take advantage of spring sunshine and the shadows it creates.
At Copperas Cove High School, students in James Buzzard’s class use clinometers that they have built to measure the angle of elevation and angle of depression after they measure the horizontal distance from an object with a tape measure. By doing this, they created 12 right triangles and six other triangles.
“We are going to use these triangles when we do the Law of Cosine, Law of Sine, and other formulas when we are learning applied trigonometry,” Buzzard said.
Clinometers are often used in forestry and surveying, as well as in meteorology. They are measuring devices for determining accurate measurements of slope, height, and distance.
The students measured heights of trees, buildings, and buses.
“I really enjoyed the hands-on activity outside,” said student Heather Rellinger. “It’s great to go outside into a new learning environment.”