The most important thing I learned in this unit was the unit circle. It will be important in the future as it provides a way to find sin, cos, and tan values without a calculator, along with their degrees and side lengths. When we go to NC State, where we cannot use calculators, we will need to rely on this to do our calculations. Even when we do have access to calculators, however, this tool will still be a very convenient tool to evaluate trigonometry.
To learn about the unit circle, we constructed one ourselves. Using our new knowledge about radians and trig rations, we put down all of the measurements, angles, and numbers. This showed us exactly how the unit circle worked. Now, we can construct one ourselves using the methods we learned without a calculator or notes.
Part 2 – Cycles in Nature Project
I learned that the hours of daylight throughout the year actually follow an exact cycle. Growing up, hours of daylight always affected my family, since my dad had vision issues and could not drive in the dark. Learning exactly when and how the time of day changed was a very educational experience. I never knew what the seasonal equinoxes were before.
To model the data for our project, we had to manually find each day of the year that were the 1/8th milestones of 365 days. Then, for those 8 dates plus the 4 equinoxes, we had to, again, manually search how many daylight hours each day had. It was a very tedious process and my partner and I very nearly messed some of our data. Then, we had to figure out how to write our model equation, which was difficult because we were confusing our radians and degrees. This whole process was the hardest part of the project. In the end, however, it mostly worked out; we just had to focus our effort, time, and concentration onto this part of the project. One thing that helped was having one teammate read off numbers and have the other put them in, so the latter would not have to keep switching around and risk entering incorrect data. It was also much easier and faster than having only one person do it at a time. Everything else, like the poster, was not really difficult compared to that.
One good thing about this project was our poster. This was the first time I ever developed a poster theme from scratch (though it was inspired by a infographic design and has similar elements). It has a very clean look, with effective use of background images. My grade level poster also used the same theme, and I worked on both posters alongside one another.
One thing I would do differently next time is to put all of our information on the poster. When we made the poster, we assumed that some of the rubric’s requirements could be left on our project documents, since it did not explicitly state that everything had to be on our poster. As a result, we missed many points.