Trig-Star Competition Displays Students’ Trigonometry Skills

Dimond students were given the opportunity to show off their trigonometry skills in a math competition, Trig-Star.

Trig-Star is a national trigonometry-based math competition open to Dimond students who are or have taken pre-calculus. The purpose of Trig-Star is to promote aspects of trigonometry as a profession to high school students, and the applications of trigonometry in everyday life.

The competition was held March 28 after school in Carrie Melville’s and Mischell Anderson’s classrooms, with 47 students competing.

The contestant with the highest score in Dimond was Stella Kvidera, a sophomore who earned 88 out of 100. She is currently waiting to see if she qualifies for the state competition.

Kvidera said, “The Trig-Star competition is a math competition based on trigonometry skills and their application in real life, like what land surveyors do. The last question of the test is an application of your skills in the real world like finding area of a plot of land or finding distances between points with minimal information.”

The Trig-Star competition is sponsored by the National Society of Professional Surveyors, who hoped to give honor high school students an opportunity to compete against each other while learning some of the more practical uses of trigonometry.

Dimond Mathematics teacher Julia Wigren said, “The National Society of Professional Surveyors sponsored this program to get kids interested in careers that have to do with using math. It’s essentially to get kids excited about using math in a career.”

In Dimond, trigonometry is a part of pre-calculus and focuses on the measuring of triangles. Trigonometry is an important aspect of modern professions like surveying, animating, game design and robotics.

Kvidera said, “It’s good for high school students to do competitions like Trig-Star because it challenges us and it also shows us how we can use the skills we are learning in a real world situation.”

Trig-Star is also an opportunity for math students to participate in a fun extracurricular activity that is different from the majority of other activities.

Wigren said, “I think it’s a good experience for them to get an idea of where they could use math in the future. Kids don’t really think about professions where math is applicable, so it’s nice for them to see ‘Oh I can do things that professionals do and I am capable of doing it in a career for me.’”

Dimond Sophomore Lawton Skaling said, “I think doing Trig-Star is not necessarily important, but to find extracurricular activities which relate to your interest is. In my case, I really like math, and I think it is important for people like me to participate in events like these.”

Students were allowed to use a textbook and notes in the competition and learned all the information needed in class, so Trig-Star was not very labor intensive for students who wanted to participate and was great way for students interested in math to have some fun.

Kvidera said, “Personally, it wasn’t very labor intensive and I studied very little. It also helped that Ms. Melville gave us practice packets for us to practice examples of the actual test.”

Skaling said, “I was surprised with how chill it was. Compared to the Dimond math competition with all the teams really into it to win, most people seemed to either want extra credit or something to do for fun.

“What really surprised me though was that they allowed notes and calculators. The test itself was only four problems, each asking for six sides, angles and areas involving trigonometry to solve.”

The Trig Star competition is also an opportunity for scholarships if students manage to go to nationals.

Wigren said, “A student from Fairbanks last year ended up getting second nationally. You can win scholarships, and it’s pretty cool.”

Overall, Dimond pre-calculus students had the chance to prove their skills in trigonometry in a friendly competition. Trig-Star is a way for students to both see how math is used in careers and an opportunity for scholarships in a national competition.