## The Relevance of Logarithms : A study in two parts on the relevance of logarithms for students in upper secondary school

##### Master thesis

##### Permanent lenke

http://hdl.handle.net/11250/2455740##### Utgivelsesdato

2017##### Metadata

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##### Sammendrag

The topic of this master's thesis is the relevance of mathematics, specifically of logarithms, to students in upper secondary school. Students often ask "why do I need to learn about this". The aim of my research is to provide students with an answer to this question. The research consisted of two studies, Study 1 and Study 2. Study 1 aimed at figuring out by whom, how and why logarithms are used. Information about this was obtained by literature searches and expert appraisal. With Study 2, I condensed this information into a short educational video aiming at providing students in upper secondary school with an answer to the question "why do I need to learn about logarithms?" To test the quality of the video, it was shown to a group of eight students in the target group and they were interviewed. Using Cultural-historical Activity Theory (ChAT), these interviews were analysed to find out what views these students had on the video and on the relevance of logarithms.
The research questions were 1) how can the question "why do I need to learn about logarithms" be answered? and 2) what are students' views on my video aiming to answer the question "why do I need to learn about logarithms?" I also hypothesise that students in the target group know little about the applications of mathematics, and that this is information that they want.
My results indicate that 1) logarithms have applications in most scholarly fields and are potentially relevant to many students considering going into higher education (from sociology and demography, to medicine, engineering and natural sciences), 2) that my video was generally well received, but that a) it is difficult to balance the amount of detailed mathematical explanation with simplicity to achieve an accessible presentation. The target group was divided at this point. Also b) such presentations can be counterproductive. The results also indicate that the hypothesis is true. In fact, some students indicated that their teachers could inform them more about applications of mathematical concepts. However, a larger study is required to determine what presentation form and content balance is best suited for demonstrating the relevance of mathematical topics to students in upper secondary school.
Keywords: Mathematics, Education, Relevance, Logarithms, Upper-Secondary

##### Beskrivelse

Master's thesis Mathematics Education MA502 - University of Agder 2017