Posted by Gaby on .
Please help me with this word problem, I can't seem to figure it out.
Both Derek and Sam are 5ft 10in tall. Derek looks at a 10ft basketball goal with an angle of elevation of 29 degrees, and Sam looks at the goal with an angle of elevation of 43 degrees. If Sam is directly in front of derek, how far apart are the boys standing?

PreCalc 
Reiny,
Draw a side view of the situation, then the basket is 50 inches above the height of the the eyes of the two boys.
distance of derek to point below the basketball is x
of Sam to a point below the basketball is y
tan29 = 50/x > x = 50/tan29
tan 43 = 50/y >y = 50/tan43
distance between the boys = xy
= 50/tan29 50/tan43
= 36.583 inches
= or 3.05 ft