"Perhaps one of the greatest myths about mathematics is that some people are natural “math people” and some are not. A common misconception is that mathematical ability is genetically inherited or predetermined. On the contrary, research does not support the idea if innate mathematical ability… Whether students understand the content may depend not so much on the material itself but in the way teachers present it. Although a certain percentage of students will understand a mathematical concept despite a poor teacher, most students will thrive only in an atmosphere created by caring, knowledgeable teachers."
- Daniel J. Brahier, Teaching Secondary and Middle School Mathematics

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Tangents

Yesterday while tutoring, one of my students asked me what tangent really measured… I told her that it was the ratio of the length of the opposite side to the length of the adjacent side in a triangle, but that I would do some research for her to have a more interesting answer… 

Ever wonder why the tangent function is called tangent?  That’s because it can be represented by the length of the tangent line to the circle… Take a look at this awesome applet!  What a great visual!

tangent math mathematics trigonometry circles