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basics-of-trigonometry-

# basics-of-trigonometry-

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03/16/2013

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# Class-X

What Is Trigonometry?
y Trigonometry is the ratio of

one side to another in a rightangled triangle. y There are three basic trigonometric functions: sine, cosine and tangent, each of which is a ratio of one side to another. y Trigonometry is often shortened to just trig , as it is easier to say.

How to Use Trigonometry
y Take the right-angled

triangle to the right. y Notice there is an angle labelled x. This is important for trigonometry to determine which sides are used for trigonometry.

x

First, Label the Sides
Each side is given a label in relation to angle x. There is the hypotenuse, adjacent and opposite side. y Labelling the three sides before continuing is best practice.
y

x

opposite

First, Label the Sides
y The hypotenuse is the side
x

opposite the right angle. It is also always the longest side of the right angled triangle.

opposite

First, Label the Sides

side next to angle x : adjacent means next to . y Don t confuse it with the hypotenuse: remember that the hypotenuse is opposite the rightangle.

x

opposite

First, Label the Sides
y The opposite is, as it s
x

name suggests, opposite to angle x.
opposite

So, Now the Trigonometry
y As previously

mentioned, the trigonometric functions: sine, cosine and tangent are ratios of the sides in relation to angle x.

x

opposite

Firstly, Sine
y On calculators, sine is

shortened to sin .

y sine x = opposite /

hypotenuse

x

y Possible values of sine x

are between 0 and 1. y e.g. sine 30° = ½

y This means that for a 30

degree angle, the opposite side is always ½ as big as the hypotenuse.

opposite

Now Cosine
y On calculators, cosine is shortened to cos .
y cosine x = adjacent /

hypotenuse

x

y As with sine x, possible values of cosine x are between 0 and 1. y e.g. cosine 45° = 0.707
y

This means that for a 45 degree angle, the adjacent side is always 0.707 times as big as the hypotenuse.

opposite

And Finally Tangent
y On calculators, tangent is shortened to tan .
y tangent x = opposite / adjacent

y Any value for tangent x is possible, both positive and negative. y e.g. tangent 15° = 0.267
y

x

This means that for a 45 degree angle, the opposite side is always 0.267 times as big as the adjacent.

opposite

Uses of Trigonometry
y Trigonometry can be

used to find out an angle of a right-angled triangle if you know two sides. y Or it can be used to find out a side if you know another side, and an angle (other than the right angle, of course).

? 4

5

30°

4

?

Finding Out an Unknown Side
y In this example to the

right, we know an angle, and the opposite side. y We want to know the hypotenuse. y Which function uses the opposite and the hypotenuse? (scroll back if necessary)

30° 4

?

Finding Out an Unknown Side
y We need sine. y The unknown side is now

labelled a so we can refer to it later, but it can be labelled any letter of the alphabet, if you like. y We can now put the information into the formula: sine x = opposite / hypotenuse sine 30° = 4 / a

30° 4

a

Finding Out an Unknown Side
y Now for the maths-y

bit to rearrange the equation to find a.
y

y sine 30° = 4 / a
Multiply both sides by a

30° 4

a

y
y y

a sine 30° = 4
y Then divide both sides by sine 30°

a = 4 / sine 30°
y Now put it into the calculator

4 sine 30° = 8

Finding Out an Unknown Side
y Therefore, we have

worked out that the hypotenuse is 8. y You can do exactly the same if you know a different side, and want to know an unknown side you just need to choose the right function for the job.

30° 4

8

Finding the Angle
y Finding an angle is a

little more difficult. y In this example, we know the hypotenuse and the adjacent but we don t know the angle. y Which function uses the hypotenuse and the adjacent?

4

5

Finding the Angle
y We must use cosine. y Let s substitute the

information into the formula.
y cosine x = adjacent /

4

5

hypotenuse

y cosine x° = 4 / 5

Finding the Angle
y Now this is where it

gets difficult. We now have to find the INVERSE of cosine in order to find the angle, which is found on calculators as cos-1.
x° = cos-1 4 / 5 cos-1 4 / 5 = 36.87 °

4

5

y cosine x° = 4 / 5

y
y

Only the Start
y This, of course, is

only the start of trigonometry, and there are many more functions and ways to find other information out. y It even extends beyond right-angled triangles!