Its all Greek to me

Did you know that the word trigonometry came from the ancient Greeks. 'Trigonon' was their word for triangle and 'metron' their word for measure.

Don't you think these ancient Greeks were a bit geeky?

I like being a maths geek. People think I am really clever, but it is just a case of using formulas that the ancient Greeks gave us years ago... makes us look good.

(SOH, CAH, TOA) yes that again.

We are going to look at Cos here.

We can use Cos to help us find the missing angles in a right angled triangle.

A formula triangle is helpful. The stuff in the triangle is going to help us.

C is for Cos (which will be given as an angle)

A is for adjacent angle

H is the hypotenuse

The line in the middle means divide.

To use this triangle we cover up what it is we want to find and we are left with a formula to follow.

Who would have thought formulas could be so helpful.

We want to find the angle, cover up the C. The formula we are left with is adjacent ÷ hypotenuse

Let's give it a go.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure your calculator is set to degrees. You should see a D in your window.

Example 1

1. Label the triangle

2. Find the two sides you want.

You want to find the angle, so we want A, and the only other side you have to help is the H.

3. Look at your formula triangle, cover up C

4. We are left with Adjacent ÷ Hypotenuse

5. In your calculator type in 3 ÷ 7 = 0.42 (This is clearly wrong)

__This is the geeky bit__

6. Type into your calculator Shift Cos to access Cos-1 0.42 which will give us the angle.

7. Your answer should be 65.2° to 1 decimal place.

Example 2

1. Label the triangle

2. Look at your formula triangle, cover up C

4. We are left with Adjacent ÷ Hypotenuse

5. In your calculator type in 5 ÷ 8 = 0.625

6. Do the geeky bit Shift Cos to access Cos-1 0.625 which will give us the angle.

7. Your answer should be 51.3° to 1 decimal place.

Clever things these calculators, not geeky after all..but still makes us look good.