Telling students, “It is questionable how practical or applicable this skill is today,” is probably not the best way to get their interest or convince them that logarithms are worth learning. I am extremely disappointed in the way our math curriculum presents logs. He makes this fun and easy topic confusing and frustrating.
My oldest child ditched Math-U-See’s pre-calc explanation of logs and worked through Life of Fred’s advanced algebra chapter on logarithms. One week later, he encountered a problem in his physics text that required the use of logs. He knew exactly what to do.
My daughters, however, don’t like Life of Fred, so I am writing a basic no-nonsense chapter for them to learn logarithms. Instead of beginning with a confusing definition and tedious exercises, I start with an easy “here’s how they work” and gradually work into the definition.
This study of logarithms includes:
- Introduction to Logarithms
- Log Laws
- Evaluating Logarithms
- Using Logarithm Tables
- More on Log Tables
- Using Logs to Solve Exponential Equations
- Practical Application of Logarithms
- Antilogs, Why?
- Logarithm Definition
- Common Logs
- Another Log Law
- Natural Logs
If you’d like to work through these lessons on logarithms, I’d appreciate feedback. I’ll post a few chapters at a time. Links provided as I work out the bugs:
- Lessons 1-5 (with answers)
- Common Log Table (this log table is needed in lesson 4)
- Lessons 6-10 (with answers)
- Lessons 11-
A common log table with seven decimal places can be found here, but is not needed for this unit.