Date of this Version
Castle, S. 2022. Application of Linear Algebra within the High School Curriculum: Designing Activities to Stimulate an Interest in Upper-Level Math. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
This senior project outlines potential lecture activities for a guest speaker or teacher in a high school classroom to present interesting applications of linear algebra. These applications are meant to be pertinent to things students at this age level are already learning or are interested in. The activities are designed such that the ideas of upper-level math are introduced in a very guided and non-intense way. The intent of the activities is mostly applications and interesting results rather than mathematical lecturing or instruction.
The high school level courses explored in this project are chemistry, economics, and health/physical education. For these subjects respectively, the students are taught how to balance chemical equations, how to observe equilibrium prices in a small economy, and how to create a diet balanced in macronutrients all through the utilization of forming and reducing matrices into reduced row echelon form. For each course, there was an intro assignment created which would be expected to be teacher led and extremely guided, as well as one or two student led practice assignments that are very similar to the intro assignment and are intended for hands-on practice with the material introduced in the intro assignment.
This project aims to address the question some high school students find themselves asking: “When are we ever going to use math in the real world”, while also providing them with stimulating and relevant conclusions that they can relate to and get excited about.