The foremost job of any math teacher is to answer the question “Why are we learning this stuff anyway?” It’s an annoying question to hear—why can’t you see the inherent beauty that I do?!—but a good one to ask if you’re burning away your childhood from inside a classroom.
Trigonometry is a hard one to answer for. At its heart is the study of the most basic shapes—circles and triangles—and even more basically, the fundamental narrative concepts of oscillation and cyclicality. Continue reading