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Lets look at a circle with center at (0, 0) and radius r

The equation of this circle would be

x y r
2

(0,r)
(-r,0)

(r,0)

(0,-r)
So points on this circle must satisfy this equation.

A circle with center at (0, 0) and radius 1 is called a unit circle.

The equation of this circle would be

x y 1
2

(0,1)
(-1,0)

(1,0)

(0,-1)
So points on this circle must satisfy this equation.

Let's pick a point on the circle. We'll choose a point where the
x is 1/2. If the x is 1/2, what is the y value?
You can see there
2
2
x y 1
are two y values.
2
They can be found
x
=
1/2
1

2
by putting 1/2 into

y
1

the equation for x
(0,1) 1 3
2
,

and solving for y.

3
2
2
2

4
3
y
2

(-1,0)

(1,0)
1
3
,

(0,-1)

We'll look at a
larger version
of this and
make a right
triangle.

We know all of the sides of this triangle. The bottom leg is just
the x value of the point, the other leg is just the y value and
the hypotenuse is always 1 because it is a radius of the circle.
(0,1)

(-1,0)

1 3
,

2 2

3
2

sin

(1,0)

1
2

(0,-1)

tan

cos

3
2 3
1
2
1
21
1 2

3
2 3
1
2

Notice the sine is just the y value of the unit circle point and the
cosine is just the x value.

So if I want a trig function for whose terminal side contains a

point on the unit circle, the y value is the sine, the x value is
the cosine and y/x is the tangent.

2 2

2
2

(-1,0)

(0,1)

sin

1
3
,

2 2

(1,0)

tan
(0,-1)

1
3

2 , 2

cos

2
2

2
2 1
2

We divide the unit circle into various pieces and learn the point
values so we can then from memory find trig functions.

Here is the unit circle divided into 8 pieces. Can you figure
out how many degrees are in each division?
These are
0,1
easy to

2 2
2 2
90
memorize

,
,

2 2 135

2 2
since they
45
all have the
2
sin 225
same value
2
with
45
1,0 180

0 1,0 different
signs
depending
225
on the

2
2

315
2
2

270
2
2

2
2

We can label this all the way around

0,1 with how many degrees an
angle would be and the point on the unit circle that corresponds
with the terminal side of the angle. We could then find any of the
trig functions.

Can you figure out what these angles would be in radians?

0,1

2 2

,
2 2

1,0
7
sin

1353

180
5
4225

2
2

2
2

,
2
2

90

3
2

270

2 2

2 , 2

45
4

0 1,0

7
4 315
2

0,1

The circle is 2 all the way around so half way is . The upper
half is divided into 4 pieces so each piece is /4.

Here is the unit circle divided into 12 pieces. Can you figure
out how many degrees are in each division?
You'll need
1 3
1 3

0
,
1

,
to
,
2 2

cos 330 3

2 2
90
2
memorize
120

60
3 1
,
3 1 these too
2 2

150
but you

2 ,2

30
can see
the pattern.
30
1,0 180

0 1,0
210

3 1
330 3 , 1

2 2
240
2 2

270 300

sin 240

3
2

1
3
,
2 2

0,1

1
3
,
2 2

We can again label the points on the circle and the sine is the y
value, the cosine is the x value and the tangent is y over x.

Can you figure out what the angles would be in radians?

1 3
,
2 2

0,1

3 1
,
2 2

120

1 3
,
2 2

90

60

150

30
30 6
0

1,0 180

3 1

2 ,2

1,0

210

3 1
,
2 2

330

240
1
3
,
2 2

270

300

0,1

3 1

2 , 2

We'll
see
them all
put
together
on the
unit
circle on
the next
screen.

1
3
,
2 2

It is still halfway around the circle and the upper half is divided
into 6 pieces so each piece is /6.

You should
memorize
this. This is
a great
reference
because
you can
figure out
the trig
functions of
all these
angles
quickly.
1
3
,

2
2

Look at the unit circle and determine sin 420.

In fact sin 780 = sin 60
since that is just another
360 beyond 420.
Because the sine
values are equal for
coterminal angles that
are multiples of 360
added to an angle, we
say that the sine is
periodic with a period
of 360 or 2.

, 3
2
2

All the way around is 360 so well need more than that. We
see that it will be the same as sin 60 since they are
coterminal angles. So sin 420 = sin 60.

3

undef

Let's label
the unit
circle with
values of
the tangent.
(Remember
this is just
y/x)

3
3

3
3

3
3

1
3

1
3
,

2
2

undef

3
3

Now lets look at the unit circle to compare trig functions

of positive vs. negative angles.

What is cos ?
3
1
2

What is cos ?
3
1
2

Remember negative
angle means to go
clockwise

, 3
2
2

cos cos

What is sin ?
3
3
2

What is sin ?
3

, 3
2
2

sin sin

What is tan ?
3

What is tan ?
3

, 3
2
2

Lets think about the function f( ) = sin

What is the domain? (remember domain means the legal
things you can put in for ).
You can put in anything you want
so the domain is all real
numbers.
What is the range? (remember range means what you get out
of the function).
The range is: -1 sin 1
(0, 1)

Lets look at the unit circle to

answer that. What is the
lowest and highest value
youd ever get for sine?
(sine is the y value so what
is the lowest and highest y
value?)

(1, 0)

(-1, 0)

(0, -1)

Lets think about the function f( ) = cos

What is the domain? (remember domain means the legal
things you can put in for ).
You can put in anything you want
so the domain is all real
numbers.
What is the range? (remember range means what you get out
of the function).
The range is: -1 cos 1
(0, 1)

Lets look at the unit circle to

answer that. What is the
lowest and highest value
youd ever get for cosine?
(cosine is the x value so
what is the lowest and
highest x value?)

(-1, 0)

(1, 0)

(0, -1)

Lets think about the function f( ) = tan

What is the domain? (remember domain means the legal things
you can put in for ).
Tangent is y/x so we will have an
illegal if x is 0. x is 0 at 90 (or /2)
or any odd multiple of 90
The domain then is all real numbers except odd multiples of
90 or /2.
What is the range? (remember range means what you get out
of the function).
If we take any y/x, we could end up getting any value
so range is all real numbers.