Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trig Art Projects 2012

At our school, our Pre-Calc/Trig students create trig art projects every fall.  I know it's a pretty popular thing to do, but I gotta say, I'm pretty sure I got some of the most amazing trig art ever.

The math criteria:

  • Use at least 3 trigonometric functions
  • Each function must have at least 2 periods
  • There must be at least 2 shifts (vertical or horizontal)
Once students figure out their functions, they graph each function on a transparency or a sheet of wax paper.  This acts as their blueprint.  From there, they copy their blueprint onto a quarter of a poster board and add their artistic genius.  Finally, they fill out a rubric, telling me things about each function, such as its domain and range (they must state the domain and range that they used for THEIR project; i.e., "all real numbers" does not cut it), amplitude, and any shifting.
Students working with Desmos in the Math Lab

I took a day to let them play on Desmos.  This was fantastic because they were able to see immediately what  their transformations did to each function, without having to graph each function fifty times by hand.  Also, I showed them how to restrict the domain of their functions, which taught them a teeny bit of programming.  I feel that using math to understand technology is one of the greatest things I can teach my students.  So a day in the Math Lab to play with trig functions was well worth it, in my opinion.

I let my students vote on the Most Creative Award.  Here's their winner from 1st hour:

And from 4th hour:

Each winner got a gift card to Target in the approximate amount of $3pi ($9.42).  And, no, when I asked for that amount, the cashier's face was not nearly as disconcerted as I was hoping.

But the kids laughed.  And that's what matters.


  1. Do you have an instruction sheet or rubric you use for this that you are willing to share?

  2. Can I have the instructions, too? I would love to do this project with my students.

  3. drive keeps booting me out...
    This looks like such an engaging activity; thanks for sharing! Could I please have the instruction sheet and rubric as well? Thanks

  4. Could you email me the rubric as well? Thank you!

  5. Hi Rebecca,

    This looks like a TON of fun! Any chance you can send a copy of the instructions and rubric to me? My email address is

    Thank you,


  6. Hi, this looks fabulous! If I could also have the instructions and rubric sent to my email, I would be greatly appreciative!

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  8. I think this project would be great for my classes! Would you please send me the information and rubric? My email is

  9. Congratulations for a neat, fun idea. Sometimes I let my students use Desmos on their iphones, but is good to see Desmos used in a trig Project. Please, if possible, send me the project info too, I would love to try it !
    Thank you so much,
    Daniela (

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  12. Hi. I can see I'm a little late to the party, but this project looks fabulous and I'd like to have my students do it. As others have asked, would you be willing to share whatever documentation you have on it. Thank you so much!!! (my school email:


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