Lesson Plan

How tall is the light pole?

Use trigonometry to find the height of objects too large to measure.
Anthony D.
Classroom teacher
Zeeland East High School
Zeeland, United States
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My Subjects Math

Students will be able to...

1. Find the angle of elevation from where they are standing to the top of a light pole (note you can use any object that is taller or shorter than you).

2. Measure a distance they are away from the object being measured. 

3. Use trigonometric ratios to calculate the height of the object. 

Grades 8 – 10
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Project Instructions

Activity: Creating

Students will recieve 1 piece of string between 10 and 20 feet long, one straw, and a piece of duct tape. They will be directed to tape the straw onto the top of their iPad while holding it vertically. 

Using the string students will stand that determined distance away from an object they are chosing to measure. 

Students will open up the app Clinometer on their iPad. Looking through the straw similar to a sight on a gun, the students will line up objects in their sight that are taller or shorter then they are. 

While they have the object in their sight, another student will read the angle of elevation or depression (depending on whether or not the object is higher or lower than their plane of sight) from the Clinometer app. 

The second student in the group of two should take a picture of the student looking up or down at the object through their iPad scope. They will use this picture to draw over and show their work on for turning in their assignment. 

Using the given distance the students are standing away from the object and the angle of elevation or depression students work to figure out how tall the object is using what they have learned about trigonometry. Have students figure out how to add or subtract additional height as the iPad is not at the ground level. 

Assign the students 5 objects around the school to find the height of. In the end, the students should have 5 images that are marked up in another app such as notability or skitch and the work should be shown as to how they have calculated the objects height. 


2 Download these apps

Activity: Other — Downloading

Students will use the following apps:

1. Notability or some other annotating app.

2. Clinometer app

3. Keynote or some other presentation app.


3 Practice work

Activity: Assessing

Students will log onto thatquiz and take the formative assessment that goes along with this practice link: