Pythagorean Theorem Web Quest

Using Trig in the Real World

A WebQuest for 9th Grade Algebra

Designed by

Shannon (Hosier) Mersand

Angling- picture of man fishing with every angle measured. Fishing image from
triangles (1K)
triangles (1K)

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion| Credits

Lesson Plan


Last class you learned how to convert between angles and sine, cosine and tangent using a trigonometric table and your calculator. As with many things you learn in math, I bet you wonder just when you are going to need to use this in your life? It's hard to believe that all of those letters and formulas will come in handy some day, but they will!

In this quest, it is your responsibility to learn about Trigonometry (Pythagorean Theorem, and the Trig Ratios for Sine, Cosine and Tangent) and how it can be applied in the "real" world. You will combine your previous knowledge with what you learn over the next few days. You will then prepare a presentation for the incoming freshmen that explains the basics of Trigonometry and how they can apply it to their summer jobs.

back to top

The Task

At the completion of this webquest, you will be able to explain basic trigonometry concepts and how to use them in a summer job.

    • Task 1: Individually, familiarize yourself with Trigonometry, the Pythagorean Theorem, and the Trig Ratios. You will need these basics to help you describe the real world application of trigonometry.

    • Task 2: Individually, read the examples provided of how trigonometry is used every day.

    • Task 3: In your assigned group, each of you select one summer job from the list. Each job has related tasks with it. You must brainstorm how to use the basic trigonometry ratios and theorem to accomplish the tasks.

    • Task 4: Create a PowerPoint Presentation with your group mates to educate the incoming freshmen about trigonometry and how it can be applied to their summer job. Specific requirements are listed below.

back to top

The Process

back to top


You will receive one total grade for this project, with part of the points coming from your notes and the other part from the PowerPoint Presentation.

triangles (1K)
triangles (1K)
triangles (1K)

back to top


You are now familiar with the trigonometry ratios as well as the Pythagorean theorem. You have also seen how these ideas are used in the real world. What you have done here is just the beginning of how the measurement of triangles plays an important role in the world in which we live. How else might you see trigonometry as being useful to you in the future? What if you were a sailor and had to know how far away the lighthouse is so you don't crash into the rocks? What if you were scuba diving and needed to know how much father your air hose would go? What are other areas of work you might do that could require you to know how to figure out lengths and angles of triangles or other polygons?

back to top

Credits & References

Special thanks to Ms. Amyot, Mrs. Conti and Mr. Hebrank for all of your math help!

Cooper, M. (2005, November 22) Conviction With an Angle Is Upheld by Court of Appeals. The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2008, from:

Definition of Pythagoras Theorem. (2007, November 26). Retrieved April 13, 2008 from Math is Fun:

Drexel University. (1996, August 20) Ask Dr. Math: What is Trigonometry. Retrieved April 13, 2008 from Math Forum:

Eisenberg, J. D. (2006). Trigonometry - Surveying Uses. Retrieved April 17, 2008 from Cat Code:

Geometry and Trigonometry Reference Area. (c2007) Retrieved April 13, 2008 from Cool Math:

Maths First. (2006, August 9). Trigonometry Index, Maths First, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University. Retrieved April 13, 2008, from Massey University:

Oswego City School District. (c2008) Pythagorean Theorem. Retrieved April 17, 2008 from Regents Prep:

Oswego City School District. (c2008) Right Triangle Trigonometry: Solving for a side. Retrieved April 17, 2008 from Regents Prep:

Oswego City School District. (c2008) Right Triangle Trigonometry: Solving for an angle. Retrieved April 17, 2008 from Regents Prep:

Spector, L. (c2008) Three-place Trigonometry Table. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from The Math Page:

Fishing image from Math Supporter

More Trigonometry Links

Trigonometry Review. (c2006) Retrieved April 13, 2008 from Curriculum Bits:

University of Regina. What are Real World Applications of Trigonometry. Retrieved April 13, 2008 from Math Central:

Utah State University. (c2007) Pythagorean Theorem. Retrieved April 13, 2008 from National Library of Virtual Manipulative:

back to top

triangles (1K)

Last updated on April 27, 2008. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page