Amberly Roberts

Assignment 11: Polar Coordinates

Before we begin, let's review what is meant by polar coordinates.

Our elementary and middle school math experiences center on identifying locations using a rectangular coordinate system. While this system serves its purpose in many cases, there are some mathematical representations that are more easily dealt with in the Polar Coordinate system.

Both systems are used to communicate location. If I asked you to envision the graph of y = x, could you draw a mental picture and explain it? Now, if I asked you to envision the graph of r = theta, could you draw a mental picture and explain it. While completing this investigation, I found that by completing this exercise I was transparently placed in the student's position. While the first graph in the rectangular system was also so basic it was trivial, the comparable graph in the polar coordinate system left me thinking for quite some time. Click here for a graph of both.

 This animations shows how the graph changes as the value of "a" changes.

 This animations shows how the graph changes as the value of "b" changes.

 This animations shows how the graph changes as the value of "k" changes.