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DISCOVERING THE SINE LAW

ORIGINALLY ADAPTED FROM NZMATH

1. Using your current knowledge of trigonometry, how could you find the length of AC in triangle ABC
below? Show any attempts and explain any difficulties.

2. Did you try using the Cosine Law? Why are you unable to use this method?

3. To help us move towards discovering the Sine Law we will be using another Geogebra worksheet, which
you can find in the additional resources section of the class website. Using this worksheet, you can
change the value of angle A and help you identify any relationships. Specifically, we want to see what
the relationship is between 5 sin65o and the side length b (or AC). Note - keep AngleB equal to 65o.

Angle A 5 sin65o b sinA Comments


30 4.53

45 4.53

60 4.53

90 4.53

4. Using the table above, what conjecture can you make? Explain.

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5. To test this conjecture, we need to look at further examples.
Table 2 - Set B = 70o

Angle A b / sinB 5 / sinA Comments


30

45

60

90

Table 3 - Set B = 55o

Angle A b / sinB 5 / sinA Comments


30

45

60

90

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6. What is the full conjecture from the evidence that you have gathered in the above tables?

7. Lets try to prove our conjecture for the Sine Law. Try coming up with a proof on your own using your
knowledge of trig ratios and Pythagorean Theorem, and the triangle below.

Hint first try solving for CE in terms of triangle ACE the for CE in terms of triangle BCE.

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Use your newly discovered knowledge of the Law of Cosines to solve the following problems.

Find the length of sides a and b.

Find the length of sides a and b.