Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011 © Wilolud Journals, 2011
Printed in Nigeria
ISSN: 1597 – 9928 http://www.wiloludjournal.com
MODELLING STUDENTS’ AFFINITY FOR PURE MATHEMATICS USING DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS: THE CASE OF STUDENTS OF KWAME NKRUMAH UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
W.ObengDenteh Department of Mathematics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
ABSTRACT This paper looked into the affinity of students towards pure mathematics using differential equations. A crosssection of students numbering three hundred were continuously observed and surveyed to decipher their affinity to Mathematical Analysis. It was interesting to note that they really liked it but wanted more time to be spent on its teaching for them to grasp it entirely. The end result was that they appreciated its application and resolved to delve more into mathematical analysis to ascertain its usefulness on the job market. Some topological ideas were also introduced to show the link in relation to continuity.
KEYWORDS: differential equations, model, Mathematical Analysis, students, topological ideas
INTRODUCTION An equation containing the derivatives of one or two dependent variables with respect to one or more independent variables is said to define a differential equation (Zill, 2001). A number of researchers have used ordinary differential equations in various forms. It can be used to model rumour in a particular vicinity, population dynamics, radioactive decay, Newton’s Law of cooling / Warming, spread of disease, chemical reactions, mixtures, draining a tank, series circuits, falling bodies , falling bodies and air resistance, a slipping chain and a host of other scenarios.
It is an indubitable fact that anytime there is a relationship between how something changes, the manner when it changes and the quantity of it that remains then a differential equation will emerge. In business systems differential equations are applied. Dontwi (2005) introduced and studied weak asymptotically almost periodic functions and the properties of the functions were applied to linear differential equations. Dontwi (2005) further extended the work and studied weak asymptotically and asymptotically almost periodic functions.
In terms of dynamical systems, ordinary differential equations play salient roles (Sell, 1971) in the context of flows. Differential equations are used in Economics (Zameerudin et al, 1980). It is a convenient shoulder to lean on not for the pure sciences only but for commerce, humanities, pharmacy and a host of areas. It is the cutting edge for most systems. Cheban (1991) dealt with differential equations in terms of their boundedness. Structural engineers use differential equations and apply fourier series to them because occupants of buildings and bridges often subject these structures to forcings that are periodic in nature (Duffy, 1998). It is used to model reaction to stimulus and the spread of epidemics (Burghes and Borrie, 1981).
Mathematical Analysis is the study of the real number system and mathematical objects that can be constructed from real numbers (Abbott, 2001 ; Chidume, 2006). Real number system has been used extensively (Dontwi et al, 2011). These include bounded sets, open sets, closed sets, functions, sequences of functions, functions of sequences, series of functions, Riemann integral, power series, Taylor series, Maclaurin series, improper integrals and a host of others. Some theorems and their proofs are studied and these proofs contain ideas of mathematical analysis. There are ideas (Simmons, 1963) which lead naturally into the theory of Banach and Hilbert spaces and Banach algebras, the modern theory of integration and abstract harmonic analysis on locally compact groups.
METHODOLOGY Interviews were conducted with students on their perception about the usage, importance and applications of Mathematical Analysis. The structured interview procedure for research was employed. There are many types of interview for research which include structured interviews, semistructured interviews, unstructured interviews, nondirective interview.
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W.ObengDenteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011
Kajornboon (2005) reported that structured interview is sometimes called a standardized interview. The same questions are asked of all respondents and added that Corbetta (2003, p.269) states that structured interviews are “ … interviews in which all respondents are asked the same questions with the same wording and in the same sequence.”
It was done in such a way that the answer was in the affirmative for those in favour and no interest for those who were not in favour of the course under consideration even though they were made to study it as a core course. In all, three hundred students comprising one hundred and fortythree females and one hundred and fiftyseven males were observed in the Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. It was done continuously until the number was exhausted. The sciences were chosen because they basically use Mathematical Analysis which involves theorems and proofs and calculations.
SOME SALIENT TOPOLOGICAL IDEAS Some topological ideas would be needed to buttress the notion of differential equations. It is therefore plausible to be acquainted with such notions. A continuous curve can be seen as one which can be drawn without taking the pencil off the sheet of paper (Chidume, 2006). The definition of continuity is connected with two important concepts. These are an open ball in and an open set in , where is the set of real numbers.
To do that it is assumed that for every arbitrary
absolute
, the distance between
value
of
the
difference
and
, represented by
between
and
Definition 1 (Chidume, 2006): By an interval of
that refers to any set of the form of any of the following nine
and unbounded intervals
sets. For
are
, Bounded intervals are :
, the open ball that is centered at
is defined as follows:
with
For
example,
see Chidume (2006), pp.91.
MODEL FOR EXPONENTIAL GROWTH The usage of nonlinear differential equations is employed. Let be the size of a population at time t and
is a constant (Zill, 2001). Then the specific rate is defined by
(1)
It is assumed that the rate at which a population grows or declines is dependent only on the current number. It would not be dependent on any time dependent system such as situations bordering on seasons. This can then be stated as
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(2)
W.ObengDenteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011
This is called the densitydependent hypothesis (Zill, 2001). With some assumptions Equation (2) becomes
(3)
It is assumed that becomes
) is linear and so
and
When the constants are relabelled (3)
(4)
Here
logistic function and its graph is known as a logistic curve. The solution of (4) is bounded as . It has been shown in a lot of papers that logistic curves are really accurate in predictions.
. The name of Equation (4) is the logistic equation. Its solution is known as the
METHOD OF SOLVING EQUATION (4) Separation of variables (Zill, 2001) is used to solve (4). Thus
From the preceding equation it follows that
If
Then
(5)
CALCULATION OF RESULTS AND ANALYSIS WITH OBSERVED DATA Three hundred (300) University students in the sciences were observed and on the fifth day of ascertaining those who appreciate Mathematical Analysis, fiftysix (56) students were found to appreciate the course in question. The observations were carried out for some days and the data were documented. The fifth day observation was used to predict the rest and compare with the calculated and observed data.
It was assumed that the rate at which the affinity for Mathematical Analysis was developed was proportional to the number of students. All the three hundred students were observed through individual questioning within the space of fifteen days (See Table 1).
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W.ObengDenteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011
Table 1: Observed values of students in favour of Mathematical Analysis



5 
56 

6 
102 

7 
161 

8 
219 

9 
248 

10 
277 

11 
290 

12 
282 

13 
295 

14 
297 

15 
297 
Source: Field survey, 2009
Let
The observation was that
be the number of students who appreciated Mathematical Analysis.
. The initialvalue problem below was solved
Considering the following values
, thus from (5)
From
Now
, k was determined from
Thus
105
The other calculated values of
have been depicted in Table 2.
Table 2: Calculated values of students in favour of Mathematical Analysis


6 
105 
7 
166 
8 
223 
9 
261 
10 
282 
11 
292 
12 
297 
13 
299 
14 
299 
15 
300 
Source: Field survey, 2009
Comparing observed and calculated values. See Table 3
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x calculated number of students
W.ObengDenteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011
Table 3: Observed and calculated values




5 56 
56 

6 102 
105 

7 161 
166 

8 219 
223 

9 248 
261 

10 277 
282 

11 290 
292 

12 282 
297 

13 295 
298 

14 297 
299 

15 297 
300 
Source: Field survey, 2009
It is clear from Table 3 that the observed values and the calculated or predicted values are almost the same which render the model as a very good one.The seemingly vast differences noted occurred in day 9 with 248 as observed number of students whilst the calculated or predictedvalue came up to 261; and day 12 with 282 as observed number of students whilst the calculated or predicted value climbed up to 297. Apart from that the rest of the predictions were good.
Theorem
4
(Chidume,
2006):
Determination of the range of x
Graph Showing Students' Affinity
from Calculations
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W.ObengDenteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011
Graph Showing Students' Affinity from Observed Values
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS CONCLUSION From Tables 1, 2, 3 and the graphs in Figures 1 and 2 which were obtained by the usage of matlab the conclusion is that the observed values and the calculated or predicted values almost converge to the same values, signifying that the model is good for the prediction of students’ preference for Mathematical Analysis. The survey brought in its wake the view that a lot of students liked offering Mathematical Analysis. Apart from attending lectures students indicated that they gleaned information relating to their courses on the internet. They asserted that the internet abounds with readily available information and they are therefore treated to a wide world of resources. Some students also intimated that some times it became difficult to get modern information but upon diligence search they revealed they sailed through unscathed.
They were profoundly appreciative of the efforts Lecturers put in to assist them to understand the course contents.
RECOMMENDATIONS The following recommendations were unearthed to decipher how students could appreciate mathematical analysis. Analysis would be used where there is no shade of ambiguity.
∑ It is significant to note that more students really appreciate the impact and study of analysis as a course.
∑ Emphasis should be placed on the teaching of topological ideas.
∑ Students need support in terms of course materials to help them understand the course content and its applications.
∑ Owing to the expensive nature of textbooks, the government could subsidize the prices of books for them to be affordable for students.
∑ It is recommended that this research process should be applied to other areas of study to ascertain students’ perceptions and the way forward to address their affinity and challenges.
∑ Analysis is important in real life scenarios because it focuses on issues that give analysis its inherent fascination.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The author kindly registers his sincere thanks to an unknown referee for valuable suggestions and comments and the students who willingly constituted the survey field.
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W.ObengDenteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34  40, 2011
REFERENCES Abbott, S. (2001): Understanding Analysis, Springer Science + Business Media, LLC
Burghes, D. N., and Borrie, M, S.(1981): Modelling with Differential Equations, Ellis Horwood Limited, Chichester, England
Cheban, D.N. (1991): Bounded solutions of Linear Almost Periodic Differential Equations, American Mathematical Society, USA
Chidume, C.E. (2006): Foundations of Mathematical Analysis, The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italy
Corbetta, P. (2003). Social Research Theory, Methods and Techniques. London: SAGE Publications.
Dontwi, I.K. (2005): Weak Asymptotically AlmostPeriodic Solutions of Linear Differential Equations and their Perturbations, European Journal of Scientific Research, Vol.9. No. 3
Dontwi, I.K., Opoku, S.A. and ObengDenteh, W. (2011): Hilbert’s Nullstellenstaz And its Application to the Study of Algebraic Curves, Continental Journal of Applied Sciences 6 (1): 52 62
Duffy, D,G.(1998): Advanced Engineering Mathematics, CRC Press LLC
Kajornboon, A. B., (2005): Using Interviews as Research Instruments ,Language Institute Chulalongkorn University
Sell, G.R. (1971): Topological Dynamics and Ordinary Differential Equations, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, London
Simmons, G.F. (1963): Introduction to Topology and Modern Analysis, McGrawHill Book Company, Singapore
Zameerudin, Q., Khanna, V.K. and Bhambri, S.K. (1980): Business Mathematics, Vikas Publishing House PVT LTD, New Delhi.
Zill, D.G., (2001): A First Course in Differential Equations with Modelling Applications, Brooks / Cole, Thomson Learning, USA
Received for Publication: 30/06/11 Accepted for Publication: 24/08/11
Corresponding Author W. ObengDenteh Department of Mathematics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
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