I have always had trouble with teaching the Ambiguous Case. It seemed that whatever I did, the explanation was not good enough. The kids came out of my class with their heads exploding with all the things they had to remember. A couple colleagues and I created a hands-on activity that really explores the heart of the ambiguous case and the Law of Sines SSA example. After going through this lesson, I really feel like the students had a grasp on the ambiguous case conceptually. My work is not finished, because I have to now finish the procedural process and we should be good.. The first video is the explanation of the original challenge. The second and third videos where students explain their partial and full answers.

Triangle Challenge Rules and Guidelines

SMARTBoard Notebook Lesson PDF Lesson
1. Use one pipe cleaner that is 8 inches long (light colored) and put it as side two

2. Angle A is exactly 30 degrees.

3. Side one is a second pipe cleaner (darker color) and starts at 12 inches long. It can be shortened by 1 inch increments.

4. Create as many triangles as you can using the above restrictions.

5. Hint: There are more than 10 solutions.

The Challenge

A Student's Partial Solution

A Student's Full Solution

An interesting Solution

PIPE CLEANERS ARE A MUST FOR PRECALCULUS CLASS!

See another blog post using pipe cleaners click here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SMARTBOARD LESSON (use must have notebook software to view this)
CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF LESSON
Happy Ambiguous Case Days ahead!!

Best,

Dave