By Brian Briggs, Project Surveyor, VHB
Administered by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and supported by the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers (MALSCE), Trig-Star is the annual high school mathematics competition based on the practical application of trigonometry. The primary purpose of the program is to promote the study of trigonometry in high schools and encourage students to understand why trigonometry will be useful to them throughout their lives. Another benefit of the program is that it introduces the students to the surveying profession.
Earlier this year, Jim Diorio, VHB’s Director of Land Survey and Brian Briggs, VHB’s Project Surveyor, met with two 11th grade math classes to describe what a land surveyor does. During the class, they brought in surveying instruments and demonstrated their real-world application.
One month later, Brian returned to the school to administer the Trig-Star exam, where 50 students had one hour to complete four trigonometry problems with 15 separate equations to solve. The winning entry was the participant with the highest score, with a time factor being the tie-breaker if necessary. Student Nicholas (Nicky) Cordeiro, of Watertown, MA, came in first place for the state and was awarded a $250 prize from MALSCE and $50 from VHB. Nicky now moves onto the national competition to be held later this month where the first place prize is $2,000, second place is $1,000, and third place is $500.
As first-time sponsor, Brian enjoyed this experience and is sold on its significance. “I plan to sponsor the Trig-Star exam again next year and will encourage other surveyors and engineers to do the same in a town near them,” said Brian. “Not only does it promote the use of trigonometry in a classroom setting, but it also shows students how they can apply their skills in a professional capacity.”
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