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ERIC Number: EJ936614
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0819-4564
Teaching Harmonic Motion in Trigonometry: Inductive Inquiry Supported by Physics Simulations
Sokolowski, Andrzej; Rackley, Robin
Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, v25 n1 p45-53 2011
In this article, the authors present a lesson whose goal is to utilise a scientific environment to immerse a trigonometry student in the process of mathematical modelling. The scientific environment utilised during this activity is a physics simulation called "Wave on a String" created by the PhET Interactive Simulations Project at Colorado University at Boulder and available free on the Internet. The outline of the activity, situated in inductive inquiry, is written in a format that is adaptable to various classroom settings; students can work independently in front of a computer or in groups. If a computer lab is not available, the simulation can be projected on a screen in a regular math classroom. In all of these settings, the teacher takes the role of a facilitator. Although, the lesson was developed following trigonometry curriculum in the US, its cognitive learning objectives fit well into the scope of the proposed Australian mathematics curriculum that also emphasises the development of the skills of mathematical modelling, data collection, and analysis. The activity, presenting applications of periodic functions in a non-geometric setting, can be conducted in Australian Upper Secondary or Lower Tertiary Trigonometry courses. With some extensions, including dumped oscillation, its content will fit into Queensland Mathematics C syllabus, in particular the section of Advanced Periodic and Exponential Functions. (Contains 4 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia