Building on the trigonometry your students have learnt in class, you can use this introduction to bullet trajectory analysis to further develop your students’ skills. We have used forensic science as a basis for this teacher resource to add an interesting twist to trigonometry. These exercises encourage your students to use creative thinking as they solve each problem.
Ballistics in a forensic context is the study of guns and explosives. It is an incredibly important area of forensic science – even in the United Kingdom where personal gun ownership is not common many crime scenes involve firearm evidence. Bullet trajectory analysis is a common technique used by ballistics experts at crime scenes and the equations in our worksheet are the same equations used by forensic scientists in the field. Bullet trajectory analysis involves working out the flight path of a bullet after it has been shot. This allows investigators to determine the height and position of a shooter.
You can use this teacher resource as a stand-alone activity to practise trigonometry or you could build it into a larger practical experience. Consider turning your classroom into a crime scene. You can use stickers to signify bullet holes and get your students to determine where the shooter was standing. You could even frame a student!