Monday, December 12, 2011

Keeping it together

The textbook: first, let's learn about what a logarithm is, and fill in the blanks - a lot. Then, the laws, which we'll only learn if we practice simplifying meaningless expressions - a lot. Then, a bit about equations and application problems. Then change of base. Each in its own nice little sub-chapter. 

Me: Lets learn about logs, a'ight? What they are and ooh look they seem to obey a bunch of rules, I wonder if we can use that to solve equations and for applications?  

Bottom line is, it seems so utterly pointless to learn about logs, and log laws and then practice manipulating logarithmic expressions. Why would I  let my students wait to see the power of log laws in solving equations that previously left them dumbfounded? I'm even wondering, why teach them the change of base formula, when they can handle any equation just using basic log laws? If there ain't a need, why go there?