I planned to allow 10 minutes for students to ask questions & make progress on the triangle pile up. They make everything into such a big deal. After a reassuring talk about how I am confident that they have a lot of tools in their math bag of tricks, students did realize they could do this. I pointed out and we discussed Standards of Math Practice 1, 5 & 6. I’m excited to learn that “tools” refers to math skills in addition to physical and virtual items (trig & Pythagorean theorem, for examples).

I had a student ask me why we were doing this and that this is not something that would occur in “real life.” I responded that the task itself is not the goal, but persistence, precision & practice using tools were the real objectives. Their reply was “Oh, that makes sense” and they got to work!

Once they were sold and digging in, they really got on a roll. I couldn’t stop them to move on to another activity, it was just so beautiful to see them patiently working.

[**update 4/24**: It appears that folks are coming to this site to find the solution to the trig pile up. I want to make sure you know that the colorful work of the student above has some errors and is **not** a correct solution. I would never post the real solution here, silly!]

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I used this as a group quiz for both of my ninth grade classes last week. I think it really got them thinking about precision and accuracy and also did a great job of reviewing trig ratios. Thanks for posting it!

How can I get a copy of this worksheet??

I have a link to it included in the previous day, but here it is for convenience:

http://www.greatmathsteachingideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Trigonometry-Pile-Up1.pdf

Hi Lisa, It’s so wild to see this comment thread come up again today. I am planning to launch this project with my ninth grade students tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks for having such great resources and for posting your excellent ideas! Jasmine

i had a few smarties get done way ahead of everyone else… One asked if he could make his own. It’s a really good challenging extension — especially the concept of giving enough info to solve but not too much.

I LOVE this..! My lazy-but-bright student is about to get punked 😉