Inverse Trig Functions

Kites and sling-shots have some obvious applications when it comes to trig functions. They’re also a lot of fun to build. I had students make their own kites (outside of class) after sharing with them the work of artist Christopher Jarratt.

I’ll admit, however, that building a kite is easier than flying it. When it came to class-time we put our kites on long bamboo sticks to ensure they stayed in the air. To begin, students measured the length of their “string,” along with the angel it made with the ground, to calculate the height of the kite. 



Later I asked students to use the Oxbow campus, along with their knowledge of slingshot warfare, to write some trig problems:

“Nora stands on top of the dorms (35 ft high) and slings a ball down at JP at an angle of π/6 radians. How far does the ball travel?

JP retaliates by slinging back up. This time the ball travels 39 ft. At what angle did JP throw the ball?”