Tap Tap Trigonometry

Tap Tap Trigonometry, a spin-off of Algebrainiac1’s Dance Dance Transversal, involves students tapping out the ratios for sine, cosine and tangent to a beat.

As I described in my blog post, Dance Dance Transversal – A Guide, Algebrainiac’s the originator of the DDT activity.  My colleague, J.J. Martinez, heard about the idea and created a powerpoint slide show, in the same style as Dance Dance Revolution, and set it to music.  As I began to use his activity, students voiced their desire for more song choices, so I offered to help create more powerpoints.

The success of this activity pushed my thinking. I wanted to apply the kinesthetic aspect of DDT to other math concepts.  My initial thought was Dance Dance SohCahToa.  Figuring the triangle dance floor would be too intricate and time consuming to create, I switched gears.

CaptureStudents are often tapping on desks – recreating a song playing in their head. If I harnessed this energy by integrating a drum beat with Trigonometry, then I’d accomplish 2 goals:

  • Kinesthetic connection
  • Easy set up

Students sit at their desks for the activity.  They either draw the following picture on a piece of paper or draw the image on their desk with dry erase marker.


View for the Bruno Mars Song

As the images scroll up, students tap out the ratio for each Trig function.

  • Tap numerator 1st
  • Tap denominator 2nd

Click here for demonstration


Practice = Fun

As outlined in my Dance Dance Transversal Post, it’s crucial to spend some time practicing the dance moves or tap moves in this case.  The goal for students is to have fun tapping out the ratios to the beat.  To succeed, students must have some experience practicing before playing the song.



I switched the angle in question for the second powerpoint, Revolution by the Beatles.  Students would have to flip their triangle picture over or redraw the diagram on their desks.


View for the Beatles song

Due to the switch, I added in a warm up slide.


Warm Up Slide – Beatles


The Powerpoints

Link to the Tap Tap Trigonometry Powerpoint


About jgvadnais

Instructional Technology Coach. Desmos Fellow. Google Level 1 Certified. SoCal transplant. New Englander at heart. Lover of yoga, dogs, green smoothies and coffee creamer
This entry was posted in kinesthetic, math, Math Education, Trigonometry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Tap Tap Trigonometry

  1. Pingback: Dance Dance Transversal – A Guide | Communicating Mathematically

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  3. This is awesome!!!! I love it! Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is awesome!!! I can’t wait to use it during our trig unit in Geometry!! Thank you for sharing!!


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  7. Chris Hansen says:

    Love this idea as much as I loved Dance Dance Transversal. I too thought that perhaps a dancing game with right triangles might work- but the tape is still stuck to the floor from DDT! Do you have a copy of the Powerpoint presentation so I can work on another song and another triangle orientation? I see the link to the Google Drive files but cannot convert to Powerpoint. Many thanks- Chris from Idaho


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