High school trig teacher

High school trig teacher

Posted by Paul Stanton on Feb 20, 2018 12:55 pm

Hello, I was looking for some advice from professionals.  I teach Pre-Cal and every year when we get to the Law of Sines and Law of Cosines I take the kids out to the football field and work with the compasses on their phones to find the distances to two water towers off in the distance.  Of course their measurements are way off as you would expect (one group said that one of the towers was 150 yards away, meaining it was in the parking lot), but that leads them to certain conclusions about equipment and measurements, which is good.  I've wanted to show them that even some basic/older equipment could still produce fairly acurate measurements so I have looked into purchasing a transit kit (I hope I am using the right terminology).  I looked through ebay to find maybe something older to prove the point, but haven't had any luck (either the equipment is in terrible shape and virtually unusable or really expensive).  I see some moderately (~$200) Dewalt kits on Amazon and just wanted some input on whether something like this would do the job.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks!

https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW096PK-Automatic-Optical-Carrying/dp/B0001LQLEW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1519071802&sr=8-4&keywords=survey+transit#customerReviews

Re: High school trig teacher

Posted by JAY WRIGHT on Feb 21, 2018 2:31 pm

I haven't been on this forum for over 5 years.

You should get decent results with a ball of string and a protractor as long as you have consistent aiming points.
You could reach out to a local surveying organization and see if someone will help, there are often
obsolete instruments gathering dust you could get for next to nothing

Re: High school trig teacher

Posted by CASEY ELLIOTT_7 on Feb 22, 2018 4:25 pm

I suggest that you contact a local surveyor or engineer for help.
I helped a first grade teacher with a class on measurement. We laid out a line on a sidewalk and showed the kids how to measure with their steps or paces, then used a steel tape then I showed them how to use a digital transit to measure the distance to a prism. The teacher used the information the kids collected to present concepts like accuracy and error.
I am sure I am not alone in volunterring to help teach measurement. Surveyors have all of the equipment that you need and can help the students collect data (angles and distances) so you can calculate the distance and elevation of the water towers back in the classroom.
You can also incorporate GIS, like Google Maps, to measure the distances another way and provide multiple ways to present and check data.
It would be fun.