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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.Obeng-Denteh 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 cross-section 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, semi-structured interviews, unstructured interviews, non-directive interview.

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W.Obeng-Denteh: 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 forty-three females and one hundred and fifty-seven 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

is
given
by
the
i.e.,
.

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 :

Definition 2 (Chidume, 2006): Considering any fixed point
represented by
or

, the open ball that is centered at

is defined as follows:

with

For

example,

Definition
3
(Chidume,
2006):
Let
For more on continuity

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.Obeng-Denteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34 - 40, 2011

This is called the density-dependent 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, fifty-six (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.Obeng-Denteh: 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 initial-value 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.Obeng-Denteh: 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

Let
be defined by
x is continuous on

Graph Showing Students' Affinity

from Calculations

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
0
5
10
15
t days
Figure 1:
Graph of

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W.Obeng-Denteh: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (2): 34 - 40, 2011

Graph Showing Students' Affinity from Observed Values

300
250
200
150
100
50
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
t days
Figure 2:
Graph of
x observed number of students

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.Obeng-Denteh: 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 Almost-Periodic Solutions of Linear Differential Equations and their Perturbations, European Journal of Scientific Research, Vol.9. No. 3

Dontwi, I.K., Opoku, S.A. and Obeng-Denteh, 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, McGraw-Hill 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. Obeng-Denteh Department of Mathematics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

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