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Trigonometry Made Human! September-October 2020

How Not to Teach it Backwards!

There is a beautiful human story to trigonometry, yet the standard curriculum tells it backwards! Why? It leaves one and all muddled and befuddled.

Let's explore the delightful story of trigonometry from its human beginnings—its historical beginnings—which are the natural beginnings for the young scholar too.

Learn to enjoy the subject for your adult self, and explore the steps we can take to bring that same natural joy, ease, and depth of understanding to our wonderful students.

Our Guiding Questions for this Course:

  • What is the history of trigonometry in terms of its context and natural ease?
  • Where do the strange names used in trigonometry come from?
  • What are the common trigonometric relationships using symmetry and circle-ometry?
  • How do we enhance understanding by going from circle-ometry to trigonometry and not the other way round?
  • What is the role of the tangent ratio?
  • How do we help students understand radian measure?
  • How do we model data that exhibits specific oscillatory behaviour?

There is also a whole slew of ready-to-go inquiry-based learning experiences, authentic performance assessment tasks and optional bonus materials.

Join us for this for this asynchronous three-week online course on Trigonometry Made Human from September 19th - October 10th 2020.

All materials used will be released through this website and this is a self paced, asynchronous course so you can complete modules in your own time and based on your interest areas. The course will be open on so you have plenty of time to complete the course.

The recommended time you should spend is around two to three hours per week for three weeks! At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of participation. You also have the opportunity to create artefacts that you can use with your students or at your school. We look forward to collaborating with you!

Investment: USD$197

Audience: Everyone!


Your Instructor


Dr James Tanton and Dr Jennifer Chang Wathall
Dr James Tanton and Dr Jennifer Chang Wathall

Dr. James Tanton earned his PhD in mathematics from Princeton University. He is an author, a consultant, and ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C., chair of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of Mathematics, and founder of the Global Math Project, an initiative to transform the entire world's perception of what mathematics can, and should, be. This initiative has reached over 6 million students and teachers across the planet.

James has taught mathematics both at university and high-school institutions. He advises on curriculum, consults with teachers, and gives demonstration classes, and facilitates professional development across the globe. James is also recipient of a Joint Policy Board for Mathematics communications award for 2020.

Dr Jennifer Chang Wathall is an educational consultant, author and part-time instructor for the University of Hong Kong. With over 25 years’ experience in the education field, she has worked in several international schools including South Island School, Hong Kong and The United Nations International School, New York and Island School, Hong Kong. She holds a degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics from the University of Sydney and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Hong Kong. Based on her Masters of Arts and Doctorate in Educational Technology she has designed numerous online courses that have reached thousands of educators all over the world. Her research areas include online and blended learning methodologies and teaching for deep conceptual understanding

In the international arena, she has presented numerous keynote addresses and workshops about effective eLearning practices, concept-based mathematics, and concept-based curriculum and instruction to Pre-K-12 educators. In her role as an independent consultant she supports the

development of curriculum and instruction that integrates effective eLearning practices and based on teaching for deep conceptual understanding.

With school closures, she is utilizing her graduate studies in Educational Technology, to conduct a virtual practicum with her MEd students. She is also currently supporting schools with professional development and long term partnerships to co-create and design an eLearning integration strategy.



Frequently Asked Questions


When does this course start and finish?
The course starts on September 19th 2020.
What currency is the registration fee?
The currency for the registration fee is in USD.
Will I receive a certificate upon completion of the course?
You will be issued a certificate after October 10th 2020 when the course closes.

Get started now!



I thought the trig made human course was amazing. I learned lots about the history of trig and explored how using the history we can teach it in a more understandable and human way. The course made me think about how I teach trig, why, and if there is a different way. It was nice to be forced to think like students do and to be challenged on my subject knowledge as well as how I teach. Everyone who teaches trig, or just enjoys it, would get so much out of this course.

Eric Block
Maths teacher, British School Muscat


Thank you so much for providing such a challenging and exhilarating course. I have never thought about Trigonometry this deeply. Ever. Your tireless support of my learning and encouragement has meant a lot. Thank you for providing a really safe space for questioning my own thoughts and practices. During this course, it has occurred to me that knowing the jargon and understanding the concept are two different things and that it’s an art to introduce the jargon at the right time. I am looking forward to doing your next course…when is it?

Ms Chris Grzesik