Day 83: Polar Graph Exploration

Today my precalculus kids began a Polar Graphs exploration.  It was a great way to have them use polar coordinates again while also letting them see some spectacular graphs.  Since it is an exploration, the gist is to look for patterns, and polar graphs lend themselves easily to pattern posing, pattern checking and revising, and pattern generalization.

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In the past I have given students students a card with a polar graph equation, a large polar grid and a sheet of mini dots.  They evaluate the equation for lots and lots of angle values, determine the related r-values and then “graph” the point with the mini dots.  Different than using the calculator but more time consuming and the students get less exposure to the variety of polar graphs and less opportunity to sense-make with their peers….but I did have some nice examples to put on my wall.

I am thinking if we have time to revisit polar graphs, I’d like to use this idea in conjunction with the related rectangular trig graph to develop an understanding of the relationship between the two.  How do you connect (or re-connect) old ideas with new ones?

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Posted on January 13, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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