Hand-picked resources to support the teaching of trigonometry as part of the new GCSE specification
Everyone is talking about functions and frequency trees, but what else has changed with the advent of the new specification? And what resources are available to help? Throughout this series, Tes Maths aims to find out.
What does the specification say?
The expectation is that:
- All students will develop confidence and competence with the content identified by standard type
- All students will be assessed on the content identified by the standard and the underlined type; more highly attaining students will develop confidence and competence with all of this content
- Only the more highly attaining students will be assessed on the content identified by bold type. The highest attaining students will develop confidence and competence with the bold content.
G20: Know the formulae for: Pythagoras’ theorem, a2 + b2 = c2, and the trigonometric ratios... apply them to find angles and lengths in right-angled triangles and, where possible, general triangles in two and three dimensional figures
G21: Know the exact values of sinq and cosq for q = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°; know the exact value of tanq for q = 0°, 30°, 45° and 60°
What's the same?
In many ways, questions on trigonometry will look exactly as they always have. Students will still be presented with right-angled triangles and be expected to work out missing sides and angles. And the highest attaining students will still have to deal with the twists and turns of 3D and non-right-angled triangles. It is likely that questions will continue to be asked in this context, fused together with topics such as bearings.
What has changed?
The biggest change is that 2D trigonometry with right-angled triangles is now a topic in the foundation course. While only those sitting the higher paper will be expected to "develop confidence and competence" in the topic, all students - no matter which tier they're in - will be faced with the delights of SOHCAHTOA.
In terms of content, all students now have to understand the exact values of trigonometric ratios, which were previously reserved for A-level courses. The introduction of exact values drastically increases the likelihood of trigonometry making an appearance on the non-calculator paper, and I wouldn't be surprised if questions on the higher paper require students to not only demonstrate their knowledge of exact values using cos(30) or sin(60), but also their ability to work with surds.
Additionally, higher students will also have to find the angle between a line and a plane. Although 3D trigonometry may have been covered as part of the previous specification, it's worth double-checking that it is included this time round as well.