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ERIC Number: EJ1150775
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Powerful Meanings for Logarithms
Siebert, Daniel K.
Mathematics Teacher, v110 n9 p662-666 May 2017
Mathematics teachers strive to prepare their students to use mathematics in powerful ways both in and out of school. However, students' ability to use certain mathematical ideas, objects, and processes depends largely on the meanings they develop for the topics they study. Some meanings are simply more beneficial and useful than others. For example, even after completing a unit on logarithms, many students continue to struggle to reason about logarithms in powerful ways, which suggests that they have not developed a useful meaning for logarithms. In this article, the author describes a meaning that many students seem to develop for logarithms as a result of the way logarithms are currently taught and shows both why this meaning is problematic and why mathematical sophisticates may struggle to see how this meaning limits their students' ability to understand and reason with logarithms. Then the author suggests two alternate meanings for logarithms that can make logarithms powerful and useful for students.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A