An inquiry into high school students' understanding of logarithms

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The mathematical concept of logarithms plays a crucial role in many aspects of human existence. This study aimed to analyze and describe the issues involved in high school students' understanding of logarithms and to highlight the most common difficulties students face as they develop their understanding. Two general theoretical ideas guided this investigation: mathematical understanding and obstacles. The adapted version of Confrey's model for students' understanding of exponents was applied to investigate students' understanding of logarithms. As a result, a description of students' difficulties with logarithms, and suggestions of possible explanations of the sources of these difficulties were presented. As for teaching practice, I focused on the initial introduction of the logarithms. In the traditional curriculum, logarithms are introduced as exponents. However, historically logarithms were developed completely independently of exponents. Further research will investigate the feasibility and the benefits of the historical approach for teaching.


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Rina Zazkis
Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.