Trigonometric Ratios And SOHCAHTOA – High School Geometry Staples For The Kids

One of the best attributes of right triangles is that it is very easy to work simple geometric and trigonometric problems against them. Right triangles are easily recognizable; they are triangles where one of the angles is a 90 degree right angle. This means that two of the sides are perpendicular to each other, and the hypotenuse is the angle opposite the right angle.

It is very easy to calculate the lengths of the sides of right triangles by making use of the Pythagorean Theorem.  This theory allows you to determine the length of any side of a right triangle provided you know the length of the other two sides.

The most famous of the right triangles is the one with side lengths of three, four and five.  This Pythagorean triplet is very easy to work with and is a great example for teaching geometry in schools.

Also easy to use with right angles is the SOHCAHTOA trigonometric ratios.  SOH CAH TOA is an acronym for SIN equals Opposite over Hypotenuse, COS equals Adjacent over Hypotenuse and TOA equals Opposite over Adjacent side.  Most students find the acronym SOH-CAH-TOA a simple and handy means of memorizing these trigonometric ratios; it is certainly simpler than remember the formulas in full.

By the use of the SOH CAH TOA trig ratios it is possible to calculate the measure of an angle – or length of a side – of a right angled triangle when provided with some other basic information on the triangles dimensions.

The ninety degree angle in a right triangle makes it one of the simpler shapes to perform geometrical calculations against.  Right angled triangle geometry is therefore a staple of most high school geometry curriculums, and is taught in most schools across the country.  These important geometric figures will always be an important part of high school mathematics.