Right-Triangle Word Problems

Once you've learned about trigonometric ratios (and their inverses), you can solve triangles. Naturally, many of these triangles will be presented in the context of word problems. A good first step, after reading the entire exercise, is to draw a right triangle and try to figure out how to label it. Once you've got a helpful diagram, the math is usually pretty straightforward.

Note: Unless you are told to give your answer in decimal form, or to round, or in some other way not to give an "exact" answer, you should probably assume that the "exact" form is what they're wanting. For instance, if they hadn't told me to round in the exercise above, my value for the height should have been the value with the radical.

Another major class of right-triangle word problems you will likely encounter is angles of elevation and depression....

Original URL: http://www.purplemath.com/modules/rghtprob.htm

Copyright 2009 Elizabeth Stapel; All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use: