Geometry: How to use SOH CAH TOA

Welcome back to Mathsux! This week, we’re going to go over how to find missing angles and side lengths of right triangles by using trigonometric ratios (sine, cosine, and tangent).  Woo hoo! These are the basics of right triangle trigonometry, and provides the basis for mastering so many more interesting things in trig! So, let’s get to it!

Also, if you have any questions about anything here, don’t hesitate to comment below. Happy calculating! 🙂

Trigonometric Ratios (more commonly known as Sine, Cosine, and Tangent) are ratios that naturally exist within a right triangle.  This means that the sides and angles of a right triangle are in proportion within itself.  It also means that if we are missing a side or an angle, based on what we’re given, we can probably find it!

Let’s take a look at what Sine, Cosine, and Tangent are all about!

Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.03.29 PM.pngNow let’s see how we can apply trig ratios when there is a missing side or angle in a right triangle!Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.04.02 PM

Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.17.47 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.18.09 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.15.19 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.15.54 PM.png

Now for another type of question; using trig functions to find missing angles, let’s take a look:Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.05.01 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.19.13 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.19.30 PM.png

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Try the following Practice Questions on your own!

Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 5.05.55 PMSolutions:

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Still got questions?  No problem! Check out the video the same examples outlined above and happy calculating! 🙂

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Algebra 2: How to Solve Log Equations

Welcome to Mathsux! Today, we’re going to go over how to solve logarithmic equations, yay! But before we get into finding x, though, we need to go over what logarithms are and why we use them in the first place…..just in case you were curious!

Also, if you have any questions about anything here, don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email.  Happy calculating! 🙂

Logarithms are the inverses of exponential functions.  This means that when graphed, they are symmetrical along the line y=x.  Check it out below!

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When on the same set of axis, notice how the functions are symmetrical over the line y=x:

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.30.16 PM

We use logarithms to find the unknown values of exponents, such as the x value in the equation, Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.30.55 PM.png.  This is a simple example, where we know the value of x is equal to 2,(Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.32.30 PM.png). But what if it were to get more complicated?  That’s where logs come in!

Logarithms follow a swooping pattern that allows us to write it in exponential form, let’s take a look at some Examples below:Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.34.16 PM.pngBut wait there’s more! Logs have a certain set of Rules that makes working with them easier! Check it out below:

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.35.10 PMWe can use these rules to help us algebraically solve logarithmic equations, let’s look at an example that applies the Product Rule.

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Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.46.07 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.38.32 PM

Try the following practice questions on your own!

Practice Questions:

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Still got questions?  No problem! Check out the video that goes over the same example outlined above.  And for more info. on logarithms check out this post that goes over a NYS Regent’s question here.  Happy calculating! 🙂

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****Check out this Bonus Video on How to Change Log Bases****



Algebra: 4 Ways to Factor Quadratic Equations

*If you haven’t done so, check out the video that goes over this exact problem, and don’t forget to subscribe!

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Choose the factoring method that works best for you and try the practice problems on your own below!

Practice Questions:

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 3.09.58 PMSolutions:

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 3.10.30 PM

Want a review of all the different factoring methods out there?  Check out the ones left out here (DOTS and GCF) and happy calculating! 🙂

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Geometry: Median of a Trapezoid Theorem

*If you haven’t done so, check out the video that goes over this exact problem, also please don’t forget to subscribe!

Medians of a Trapezoid copy

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.31.07 AMStep 1:  Let’s apply the Median of a Trapezoid Theorem to this question!  A little rusty?  No problem, check out the Theorem below.

Median of a Trapezoid Theorem: The median of a trapezoid is equal to the sum of both bases.Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.32.31 AMStep 2: Now that we found the value of x , we can plug it back into the equation for Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.33.44 AMmedian,  to find the value of median Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.34.25 AM

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.34.48 AM

Want more practice?  Your wish is my command! Check out the practice problems below:

Practice Questions:

1.Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.35.29 AMis the median of trapezoid ABCDEF, find the value of the median, given the following:Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.35.47 AM2. Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.01.08 AMis the median of trapezoid ACTIVE, find the value of the median, given the following:Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.16.22 AM3.Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.17.01 AMis the median of  trapezoid DRAGON, find the value of the median, given the following:Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.22.13 AM

4. Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.23.08 AMis the median of trapezoid MATRIX, find the value of the median, given the following:Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.23.43 AM


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Need more of an explanation?  Check out the detailed video and practice problems. Happy calculating! 🙂

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Algebra 2: Solving Radical Equations

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Today we’re back with Algebra 2, this time solving for radical equations!  Did you say “Radical Equations?” As in wild and crazy equations? No, not exactly, radicals in math are used to take the square root, cubed root, or whatever root of a number.

Radicals are actually pretty cool because we can write them a couple of different ways and they all mean the same thing! Check it out below:Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.23.20 AM.pngStill not sure of their coolness? Let’s see what they look like with actual numbers:
Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.24.21 AM.pngExample: Solve the following algebraic equation below for the missing variable (aka, solve for x).Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.25.03 AM.pngExplanation:

How do I answer this question?   

The question wants us to solve for x using our knowledge of radicals and algebra. You can also check out how to solve this question on Youtube here!

How do we do this? 

Step 1: We start solving this radical equation like any other algebraic problem: by getting x alone. We can do this easily by subtracting 7 and then dividing out 5.Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.26.21 AM.pngStep 2: Now, to get rid of that pesky radical, we need to square the entire radical.  Remember, whatever we do to one side of the equation, we must also do to the other side of the equation, therefore, we also square 14 on the other side of the equal sign. 

*This gets rid of our radical and allows us to solve for x algebraically as normal!Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.29.11 AM.pngScreen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.29.34 AM.pngWhat happens when there is a cubed root though!?!? When dividing polynomials with different value roots, raise the entire radical to that same power of root to cancel it out:Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.30.21 AM.pngRemember, we know radicals can also be written as fractions: Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.31.01 AM.pngTherefore we also know that if we raise the entire radical expression to the same power of the root, the two exponents will cancel each other out:Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.31.47 AM.pngWant more practice? Try solving these next few examples on your own. Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.32.39 AM.pngWhen you’re ready, check out the below:Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.33.12 AM.png

Did I miss anything?  Don’t let any questions go unchecked and let me know in the comments! Happy calculating! 🙂 

Don’t forget to check out the latest with Mathsux and subscribe!

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Earth Day Fractals!

In honor of Earth Day last week, I thought we’d take a look at some math that appears magically in nature.  Math? In nature?  For those of you who think math is unnatural or just terrible in general, this is a great time to be proven otherwise!

The key that links math to nature is all about PATTERNS. All math is based on is patterns.  This includes all types of math, from sequences to finding x, each mathematical procedure follows some type of pattern. Meanwhile back in the nearest forest, patterns are occurring everywhere in nature.

The rock star of all patterns would have to be FRACTALS. A Fractal is a repeating pattern that is ongoing and has different sizes of the exact same thing!  And the amazing thing is that we can actually find fractals in our neighbor’s local garden.

Let’s look at some Fractal Examples:

(1) Romanesco Broccoli:  Check out those repeating shapes, that have the same repeating shapes on those shapes and the same repeating shapes on even smaller shapes and…. my brain hurts!

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(2) Fern Leaves:  The largest part of this fractal is the entire fern leaf itself.  The next smaller and identical part is each individual “leaf” along the stem.  If you look closely, the pattern continues!

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(3) Leaves:  If you’ve ever gotten up real close to any type of leaf, you may have noticed the forever repeating pattern that gets smaller and smaller. Behold the power and fractal pattern of this mighty leaf below!

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Just in case fractals are still a bit hard to grasp, check out the most famous Fractal below,  otherwise known as Sierpinski’s Triangle.  This example might not be found in your local back yard, but it’s the best way to see what a fractal truly is up close and infinite and stuff.

sierpinski.gif Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 10.19.21 PM

Looking for more math in nature?  Check out this post on the Golden Ratio and happy calculating! 🙂

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Bored and Confused?

Calling all students, teachers, and parents!  As everyone is stuck at home during a global pandemic, now is a great time we are all forced to try and understand math (and our sanity level) a little bit more.  Well, I may not be able to help you with the keeping sanity stuff, but as far as math goes, hopefully, the below websites offer some much needed mathematic support.

All jokes aside I hope everyone is staying safe and successfully social distancing.  Stay well, math friends! 🙂

Kahn Academy: The same Kahn Academy we know and love still has amazing videos and tutorials as usual, but now they also have a live “homeroom” chat on Facebook LIVE every day at 12:00pm. The chats occur daily with Kahn Academy founder Sal and at times feature famous guests such as Bill Gates. Click the link below for more:

Khan Academy Homeroom Screen Shot 2020-04-04 at 12.21.20 PM In a time when companies are being more generous, is here for us as they offer up to 1000 licenses for school districts and free lessons for teachers, students, and parents.  Check out all the education freebies here:

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Math PlanetIf you’re looking for free math resources in Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Algebra 2, and Geometry then you will find the answers you need at Math Planet.  All free all the time, find their website here:


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JMAP: For anyone who has to take the NYS Regents at some point (whenever we’re allowed to go outside again), JMAP has every old Regents exam as well as answers to boot! Did I mention each exam is free and printable?  Find their website here:


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What is your favorite educational site?  Let me know in the comments, and stay well! 🙂

Algebra 2: Binomial Cubic Expansion

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Extra Tip! Notice that we used something called FOIL to combine (a+b)(a+b).  But what does that even mean? FOIL is an acronym for multiplying the two terms together.  It’s a way to remember to distribute each term to one another.  Take a look below:

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Add and combine all like terms together and we get Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 9.04.45 AM.png!


Still got questions?  Let me know in the comments and as always happy calculating! Also, check out the video below for more! 🙂

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Geometry: The Voluminous “Vessel” at Hudson Yards

Calling all NYC dwellers! Have you seen the new structure at Hudson Yards?  A staircase to nowhere, this bee-hive like structure is for the true adventurists at heart; Clearly, I had to check it out!

Where does math come in here you say?  Well, during my exploration, I had to wonder (as am sure most people do) what is the volume of this structure?  What do you think the volume of the Vessel is? (Hint: feel free to approximate!)

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Solution: I estimated the volume by using the formula of a three-dimensional cone. (Not an exact measurement of the Vessel, but close enough!) .

Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 5.08.42 PM Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 1.20.08 PM.pngWe can find the radius and height based on the given information above.  Everything we need for our formula is right here!

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Now that we have our information, let’s fill in our formula and calculate! Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 5.14.58 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-04-11 at 5.17.30 PM.png

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Extra Tip! Notice that we labeled the solution with feet cubed Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 4.53.49 PM.png, which is the short-handed way to write “feet cubed.”  Why feet cubed instead of feet squared? Or just plain old feet? When we use our formula we are multiplying three numbers all measured in feet:

radius X radius X (Height/3)

All three values are measured in feet! –> Feet cubed (Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 4.53.49 PM.png)


Did you get the same answer? Did you use a different method or have any questions?  Let me know in the comments and happy mathing! 🙂