Summer of 2012 I found a genius idea. Log War was born from a Kate Nowak post that itself was based on the work of another. I enjoyed the idea so much in Algebra II that I generated a Pre-Cal version in Inverse Trig War. Sam Shah took THAT idea and made regular Trig War. It's a winner idea, and this year was no exception.

Because I love iterating, I took what I learned from watching the game last year and made some modifications.


The posts I linked explain all the rules. But, in summary: take a batch of trig equations, have students record the values of the cards then shuffle and pass them out face down. Everyone plays a card at once, the card with the highest value (or lowest) wins the pile. A tie is broken with a one card face off. When you are out of cards you're out of the game. Most cards wins.


Problem 1 is that while playing, students had issues determining the value of their card quickly. I had them divide up the cards and solve them before playing, but because the cards weren't numbered (D'OH) there wasn't an easy to read answer key. Problem 2, the game is fun and novel, but not for long. Last year I had them play for about 15 minutes and when combined with the problem of resolving answers, the fun vanished after that long. Problem 3, there were too many cards and some of the equations were funky.

Inverse Trig War Cards Word PDF (prints to Avery 8160/5160 labels)


Removing the kinks was pretty easy. Last year the game came at the end of a 90 minute period. This year I did it during a 50 minute period. The lesson had two parts. The previous day, I introduced inverse trig via simple equations, like 2*sin x = 1. I put a few examples on the board for them to try. On game day, the deck of cards was on the tables. Solution to Problem 3: I shrunk the deck from 40 cards to 30, and stripped out the more obscure equations. Solution to Problem 1: the cards were numbered 1-30, students made an answer key in their notebook with matching numbers. We also reviewed the answers before I introduced the game.

Solving the cards and reviewing answers took 30 minutes. I had them play for 10 minutes. For 5 minutes they played where the highest value won, for another 5 the lowest value won. It was the perfect amount of time.


It was surreal witnessing the transition from relatively silent equation solving to lively competition. I love this game.

Tournament of Champions

Later in the day I had an idea. Naturally, I get faster with my presentation and so the last two classes to play had a few more minutes to spare. I had them play highest card wins for 5 minutes, and then lowest card wins for 5 minutes. The champion of the table was brought to the center for the Tournament of Champions. Six people (one from each colored table) battled for Inverse Trig War supremacy.


It was pretty dramatic. Did I mention I love this game?

Some more video of it in action.

AuthorJonathan Claydon