Montessori and Technology
Introducing Trigonometry to Middle School Students with Logo
Along with linear algebra, trigonometry is fundamental for work in computer graphics. Trigonometry is also used in many other fields, including navigation, cryptology, oceanography, geography and surveying. It is also used in other areas of math like probability and statistics, in engineering, and in sciences such as biology, chemistry, and economics.
Computer programming is an expressive activity, like writing or drawing, so it can be useful in any area of interest. You can use programming to analyze language, simulate an economy, create poetry or visual art, or model the motions of planets in a solar system, atoms in a molecule, or ants in a colony.
Below are handouts and discussions from a class I did at Chiaravalle Montessori Middle School in Evanston. These kids have been exposed to the Pythagorean theorem. We had a student/computer ratio of about 2.5 to 1 and used Berkeley Logo on macs.
The handouts are focused on showing kids how to build procedures that draw things using fd/bk, lt/rt, repeat, and recursion. I purposely stayed away from lists because I only had a limited time.
The discussions lead the kids into drawing right triangles using arctan, sin, and cos. I also talk about work that could follow the stuff I did with my kids, including the drawing of arbitrary triangles using the law of sines and the law of cosines.
Leone Learning Systems, Inc. (LLS) is a North Shore company that provides online courses for kids anywhere and local teaching and tutoring services for students in Chicago and the Northern Suburbs of Chicagoland. LLS also provides a free geometry software package for children age 6 and up, and free resources for teachers and parents. This site includes information about classes taught, availability for tutoring, learning activities for kids, lesson plans, and ongoing software and curriculum research and development efforts.