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Modelling Temperature Data by using Trigonometric Functions

Classroom/Laboratory Activity

A classroom/laboratory activity to model temperature data by using trigonometric functions.

Students will model given temperature data (for Wellington, New Zealand) by using sine and cosine functions. They will compare models and discuss their observations. This activity can be replicated for any location for which temperature data is available.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Write trigonometric equations to model the given temperature data.
  2. In which scenarios would the sine function be a more suitable model for temperature data? In which scenarios would the cosine function be a more suitable model for temperature data?
About Tool
Tool Name Using trigonometric functions to model climate
Discipline Mathematics and Statistics
Topic(s) in Discipline Trigonometric Functions, Sine Functions, Cosine Functions
Climate Topic Climate Variability Record
Type of tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School
Location Oceania, New Zealand
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Lesley Mackintosh
Hosted at National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand
Access Online/Offline
Computer Skills Basic


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