Why do chemistry students need to take mathematics courses?

Andualem Tamiru Gebremichael 1 *
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1 Universitetet i Agder, Department of mathematical sciences, Kristiansand, Norway
* Corresponding Author
EUROPEAN J SCI MATH ED, Volume 2, Issue 2A, pp. 153-159. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/9638
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ABSTRACT

Students tend to ask why they should learn mathematics lessons or courses. This study investigates the perceptions of chemistry students and their instructors about the relevance of mathematics courses to their field of study. These students take two mathematics courses during their first year in the university. The major applications of these courses come during the second semester of their first year, their second and third years of study. Cultural historical activity theory, particularly, Engeström model is used as a lens. I undertook individual and group interviews with first, second and third year chemistry students. I also interviewed the mathematics instructors and a chemistry instructor. I examined the curriculum of the program as well as the course outline of the mathematics courses. The students were selected based on their level of achievements: high, medium and low achievers. Four themes emerged from the analytic process. I found out that the students perceive that most of the topics in the mathematics courses were irrelevant to chemistry when they are learning them. Their perceptions seem to change as they progress in their years of study. The curriculum materials lack detail information about the rationale of the course in terms of its relevance to chemistry. The results have implications to the curriculum of the chemistry degree program. In addition to the rationales for the courses, the issues that need to be addressed in connection with the curriculum of the program are set out.

CITATION

Gebremichael, A. T. (2014). Why do chemistry students need to take mathematics courses?. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 2(2A), 153-159. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/9638

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