Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)
Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)
Previous studies have shown that students at all levels—elementary, secondary and post-secondary—tend to apply linear reasoning in mathematical problems where non-linear models are needed. They rely on proportionality and linear equations without paying attention to the problem features needed for an accurate model. In the present study, students were taught using an activity-inspired by modeling curricula. In a hands-on activity, they explored the rate of change of linear and nonlinear functions that arise in describing elastic materials, recording average rates of change and noting key graphical features. This led them to articulate the relationship between nonlinear models, local linearity and the derivative. Pre/post-tests revealed a significant difference in performance between the control and experimental groups with respect to conceptual understanding of linearity and its applications.
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Brabham, Kailyn, "Does Exploring Non-Linear Models Address High School Students' Misconceptions of Linearity and Rate of Change?" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 3260.