Fall 2010 Precalculus Project 2

This project is due on 1 December 2010. You must complete the project with a partner. Normally, all members of the group will receive the same grade; however, the instructor reserves the right to conduct individual interviews over the content of the project and to assign different grades to different members of the group.


We have spent several class periods discussing practical applications to trigonometric functions. Now, I want you to apply your knowledge about trigonometric functions in order to solve the following problems.


  1. (2 points). Find the height of any object on the Clarkston campus without using direct measurement. Clearly explain how you determined the height. Show work.
  2. (3 points). Find the height and length of the “giant pencil” that rests against the side of the opening in the roof of the Jim Cherry Learning Resources Center. Clearly explain how you determined the height and length. Show work.
  3. (3 points). Select two locations on campus, say, point A and point B. Find the angle formed between the line that connects point A to the “giant pencil” and the line that connects point B to the “giant pencil.” Clearly explain how you determined the angle. Show work.

Final Report

You are to present a written report describing your findings. Include the following items

A conclusion (2 points) that summarizes your findings, including the graphs; and including other data as necessary.

Please follow these guidelines when preparing your report:

Papers should include a mixture of tables, graphs, equations, and written explanations. Your textbook can serve as a model. For example, look at the equations, tables, and graphs in your textbook and notice the way the text inserts these into the flow of its written explanations. In particular, note that an equation is usually easier to read if centered on a line by itself.

Papers must be typed. You may write equations and formulas in by hand or you can use the built-in equation editor in Microsoft Word. Click on Insert on the command bar, select Object, and select Microsoft Equation. If you use Microsoft Word at home, you may need to install this feature. Use the built-in help feature to look for instructions to "install or remove individual components".

Clearly explain your reasoning. Focus on explaining what you are doing conceptually, not on the mechanics of the algebra. You may assume that the intended reader has a working understanding of the mathematics.

You are not writing a user's manual on how to use the calculator. Do not write about which keys you pressed on your calculator.

Turn in one paper per group. The instructor will keep all papers. Make a copy for your files before turning in your paper.

You will be graded on the quality and clarity of your written presentation as well as the mathematical accuracy of your paper.