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INTRODUCTION:

1.1

BACKGROUND OF STUDY:

The problems encountered by education in Nigeria is dated back to

1960 from its independence which include; inadequate instructional

material, high enrolment rate, few managerial skills, lack of technical

know-how in schools laboratory, increased school expenditure, mass

failure in public examinations, unqualified teachers, poor quality of school

leavers and lack of comprehensive curricula in schools.

Recently, it has been discovered that one of the ways by which the

Nigerian educational system can function effectively in this Information

Technology age is to equip and create better awareness for people and a

more principled and standard school mathematics.

The Principles and Standards for School Mathematics was

developed by the NCTM. The NCTM's stated intent was to improve

mathematics education. The contents were based on surveys of existing

curriculum materials, curricula and policies from many countries,

educational research publications, and government agencies. The original

draft was widely reviewed at the end of 1998 and revised in response to

hundreds of suggestions from teachers.

Mathematics as we know is considered as a pivot subject to any art

of useful living and societal development. Mathematics is a science of

quality and space, it is systematic in organization and exact because of its

numerical and computational operation in which its involved in. this skills

are what we are daily use in our trading activities.

According to Sanya(1985), in his research work, he mentioned that

mathematics is an hinge and the central core of our educational system.

Mathematics consists of some major branches which are arithmetic,

However in this research work, the scope of the study is limited to conic

sections.

Therefore this study investigates into the difficulties encountered by

students in solving conic sections in senior secondary schools.

1.2

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:

The reason for this study is to state the nature of the problems

students encounter that reduce the quality of academic performance in

conic sections in mathematics. From observation, students have

performed shabbily in mathematics and these are attributed to some

factors like non-conducive environment, inadequate instructional

materials, indiscipline among students, and inadequate power supply in

senior secondary schools located in some Lagos suburbs. Furthermore,

some of the reasons attributed to the poor quality performance of

students in mathematics also include:

1.3

Students inability to interpret the mathematical word-problems.

Abstractive nature of the topic.

PURPOSE OF STUDY:

The purpose of this study is therefore to:

a. Explain the concept of conic sections.

b. List types of conic sections.

c. State the relationship between parabola, ellipses and

hyperbolas.

d. Identify the area of difficulties SSS2 students face while solving

conic sections.

e. Suggest possible solutions that can help to improve the

performance of the students in conic sections.

1.4

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY:

of the senior secondary school curriculum. This study will help foster a

zealous attitude towards the topic and help create a less tense

atmosphere in a mathematics class.

The study will correct the wrong notion concerning conics and its

relevance to the students after the lapse of their schooling days,

especially the need to learn and know it.

The study will particularly bring to the consciousness the

significance of conics to the publishers of mathematics text and materials

towards the production of modern conic related texts.

This study will help channel more effort to rescue the students from

their poor performance in the field of conics in mathematical science as a

result of their difficulties in studying, interpreting, understanding solving

and manipulating their ways around some basic mathematical concepts.

1.5

RESEARCH QUESTIONS.

o What are the difficulties students encounter in relating conics.

o What is the relationship between conics.

o How does the conic sections apply to the students.

o What difficulties do the students have while identifying different

conic sections.

1.6

RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS.

There will be no significant difference between the quality of

academic performance in mathematics of students from a

high-income earning family background and students from a

low-income earning family background.

There is a significant difference between the quality of

academic performance of students from a high-income

earning family background and students from a low-income

earning family background.

1.7

SCOPE OF STUDY.

This study researches into the problems students encounter while

solving conic and its relevance in five (5) selected schools which are:

St Angus Senior College, Morrocco-Yaba

Wesley Senior Girls High School, Sabo-Yaba.

St Timothy College Onike-Yaba

Eletu-Edibo Senior High School, Akoka-Yaba.

This text used covers all key features in conic sections and stating of

the formulae for solving few conic section types.

1.8

DEFINITION OF TERMS:

Conic Section: Conic section is the intersection of a

Conics: These are curves that have directrix, focus,

vertices and a lactus rectum. Example of conics are;

Parabola, hyperbola and ellipses.

The distance from the fixed point (called focus) is equal to the

distance from a fixed point.

Ellipse: The ellipses is a curve such that the sum of the

distances from any point on the curve to two fixed points

(called foci) is constant.

Hyperbola: An hyperbola is the graph of all points such

that the magnitude of the differences of the distances from

two fixed points is a positive constant

Lactum rectum: This is a line that share the same

distance as the distance of the directrix to the midpoint.

Foci: . This is a point at which the line makes a tangent

with another point on the arc of the locus.

Eccentricity: This is the ratio, constant of any particular

conic section, of the distance of a point from the focus to its

distance from the directrix.

Directrix: This is a line used to define a curve or surface,

especially a line, the distance from which a point on a conic

has a constant ratio to that from the focus.

Origin: The point at which the axis of a co-ordinate

system intersects.

Vertices: A line used to define a curve or surface;

especially a line, the distance from which a point on a conic

has a constant ratio to that from the focus.

Axes: An axis is a fixed one dimensional figure, such as a

line or arc, with an origin or orientation and such that its

points are in one to one correspondence with a set of

numbers; an axis forms part of the basis of a space or it is

used to position and locate data in a graph.

CHAPTER TWO

2.0

In this Chapter the University of Lagos Library was consulted, and

other sources of information including the internet, journals, publications

and texts. This would continue until there is an evident change in the

learning processes of conics.

These are the following pointers that would be reviewed:

2.1

2.2

2.3

2.4

2.1

THE IMPORTANCE OF

MATHEMATICS AS A SUBJECT.

It is said that Mathematics is the gate and key of the Science.

According to the famous Philosopher Kant, "A Science is exact only in so

far as it employs Mathematics". So, all scientific education which does not

commence with Mathematics is said to be defective at its foundation.

Neglect of mathematics works injury to all knowledge.

One who is ignorant of mathematics cannot know other things of

the World. Again, what is worse, who are thus ignorant are unable to

perceive their own ignorance and do not seek any remedy. So Kant says,

"A natural Science is a Science in so far as it is mathematical". And

Mathematics has played a very important role in building up modern

Civilization by perfecting all Science.

In this modern age of Science and Technology, emphasis is given on

Science such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine and Engineering.

Mathematics, which is a Science by any criterion, also is an efficient and

necessary tool being employed by all these Sciences. As a matter of fact,

all these Sciences progress only with the aid of Mathematics. So it is aptly

remarked, "Mathematics is a Science of all Sciences and art of all arts."

Mathematics is a creation of human mind concerned chiefly with

ideas, processes and reasoning. It is much more than Arithmetic, more

than Algebra more than Geometry. Also it is much more than

Trigonometry, Statistics, and Calculus.

Mathematics includes all of them. Primarily mathematics is a way of

thinking, a way of organizing a logical proof. As a way reasoning, it gives

an insight into the power of human mind, so this forms a very valuable

discipline of teaching-learning programmes of school subjects everywhere

in the world of curious children. So the pedagogy of Mathematics should

very carefully be built in different levels of school education.

In the pedagogical study of mathematics we mainly concern

ourselves with two things; the manner in which the subject matter is

arranged or the method the way in which it is presented to the pupils or

the mode of presentation. Mathematics is intimately connected with

everyday life and necessary to successful conduct of affairs. It is an

instrument of education found to be in conformity with the needs of

human mind.

Teaching of mathematics has its aims and objectives to be

incorporated in the school curricula. If and when Mathematics is removed,

the back-bone of our material civilization would collapse. So is the

importance of Mathematics and its pedagogic.

concepts (number, geometrical figure, set, function...) and how they form

hierarchies of more complex structures and concepts.

Mathematics is significant in our daily lives because we use a lot of

what we were taught in our daily activities. For instance tiling floors may

be done by figuring the size of the area. Being able to figure out

percentages can come in handy when faced with nutrition labels. Road

signs and recipe books feature fractions that tell us the distance to our

destination or how much of an ingredient to put in a dish. Calculating

monthly bills requires math. Placing pictures on a wall and making certain

they are hanging straight takes some knowledge of geometry.

Mathematics reveals hidden patterns that help us understand the

world around us. Now much more than arithmetic and geometry,

mathematics today is a diverse discipline that deals with data,

measurements, and observations from science; with inference, deduction,

and proof; and with mathematical models of natural phenomena, of

human behavior, and of social systems

universal applicability. The results of mathematics--theorems and

theories--are both significant and useful; the best results are also elegant

and deep. Through its theorems, mathematics offers science both a

foundation of truth and a standard of certainty.

modes of thought which are both versatile and powerful, including

modelling, abstraction, optimization, logical analysis, inference from data,

and use of symbols. Experience with mathematical modes of thought

builds mathematical power--a capacity of mind of increasing value in this

technological age that enables one to read critically, to identify fallacies,

to detect bias, to assess risk, and to suggest alternatives. Mathematics

empowers us to understand better the information-laden world in which

we live.

Applications of one part of mathematics to another--of geometry to

analysis, of probability to number theory--provide renewed evidence of the

fundamental unity of mathematics. Despite frequent connections among

problems in science and mathematics, the constant discovery of new

alliances retains a surprising degree of unpredictability and serendipity.

Whether planned or unplanned, the cross-fertilization between science

and mathematics in problems, theories, and concepts has rarely been

greater than it is now, in this last quarter of the twentieth century.

CONICS.

o BRIEF HISTORY OF CONICS

Conic sections are among the oldest curves, and is one of the oldest

math subject studied systematically and thoroughly. The conics seems to

have been discovered by Menaechmus (a Greek, c.375-325 BC), tutor to

Alexander the Great. They were conceived in an attempt to solve the three

famous construction problems of trisecting the angle, doubling the cube,

and squaring the circle. (These problems lingered until early 19th century

when it was shown that it's impossible to solve them with the help of only

a straightedge and a compass.) The conics were first defined as the

intersection of: a right circular cone of varying vertex angle; a plane

perpendicular to an element of the cone. Apollonius (c. 262-190 BC)

consolidated and extended previous results of conics into a monograph

Conic Sections, consisting of eight books with 487 propositions.

. This can be seen as the shadow of a ball placed on a table. The

shadow cast by a light source above the ball is an ellipse. If the light

source is in a plane parallel to the table that passes the top of the ball, a

parabola is formed. Lower the light source, then you get one branch of a

hyperbola. The point where the ball touches the table is the focus of the

conics. We can think of the light source as the vertex of a cone. The light

source projects through a circle on the ball to form a right circular cone.

The table is then the cutting plane. More generally, the projection of a

circle on any plane forms a conic section. Shadows in the shape of conics

are often seen on the wall of a nearby lamp with circular openings in its

lamp-shade.

Apollonius was the first to base the theory of all three conics on

sections of one circular cone, right or oblique. He is also the one to give

the name ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola.

o

PARABOLA:

A parabola is a curve that at any point on it. The distance from the

fixed point (called focus) is equal to the distance from a fixed point.

of the parabola. The line of symmetry meets the parabola at a point V

which is called the vertex of the parabola. The distance |VF| is the length

of the focus and of course the point F is the Focus. The broken line MN

which is parallel to the directrix and is cut off by the parabola called lactus

rectum. The length of the lactus rectum is always 4c, where c is the

distance from the focus to the vertex.

o ELLIPSES:

The ellipses is a curve such that the sum of the distances from any

point

Points F1 and F2 are The foci. The point O is the centre. The line from

A1 to A2 is called The major axis and that from point B1 and B2 is called

The minor axis. The points A1 and A2 are The vertices.

HYPERBOLA

A hyperbola is the graph of all points such that the magnitude of the

differences of the distances from two fixed points is a positive constant.

The two fixed points are called Foci.

points F1 and F 2 as its foci.

PARABOLA, ELLIPSES AND

HYPERBOLA.

The conics have similar characteristics and attributes with make

them similar to each other in many ways, some of which are:

o

o

o

o

o

o

o

The formula

The origin

The directrix

The focus

The Vertices.

Their axes.

The Eccentricity.

The Formula:

These conics sections have a similar formula which differ a little

from each other. For example:

Parabola:

Y2 = 4ax.

Ellipses:

2

x y

+ 2 =1

2

a b

Hyperbola:

y2 x2

2 =1

2

a b

The foci, origin axes eccentricity

which is e=

c

a where e > 1 are

the same, are the same while the directrix in ellipsis are two while

hyperbola has no directrix. The vertices in hyperbola and ellipses

are two while parabola has only one ellipse.

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 INTRODUCTION:

This chapter deals with the research methodology adopted to investigate

the difficulty encountered by the student in solving problems in Conic sections in

S.S.S 2 in Yaba local government area of Lagos state and the following describes

the research design and procedures adopted during the conduct of this study,

and these are:

3.2 Population

3.3 Sample

3.4 Sampling techniques.

3.5 Research Instrument.

3.6 Procedures for data analysis.

3.2 POPULATION:

The population consist of senior secondary schools in Yaba Local

Government Area.

3.1 SAMPLE:

By target population, the sample consists of twenty(20) Senior Secondary

School Class two(2) selected at random in five senior secondary schools each,

irrespective of variables such as their age, gender, family background, colour,

height, or intelligence quotient. This schools are:

St Angus Senior College, Morrocco-Yaba

Wesley Senior Girls High School, Sabo-Yaba.

St Timothy College Onike-Yaba

Eletu-Edibo Senior High School, Akoka-Yaba.

In this study, a simple random probability sampling technique was used to

select students to be used as a case-study for the research work.

In this study, a closed/structured questionnaire and achievement test were

been used to investigate the difficulties encountered by the students in solving

problems on conic sections in mathematics in selected senior secondary schools

in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The questionnaire is designed to show the respondent level of academic

performance some example of the question are;

(a) Yes

(b) No

Do you consult your parents for assistance in some mathematical

problem?

(a) Yes

(b) No

secondary school two (S.S.S2) which was designed to find out the difficulties

encountered by the students in solving problems on conic sections. This test

consists of twenty objective questions and one theory in which an hour fifteen

minutes was allocated for the students.

Generally the questions were drawn from conic sections, the drawn

questions where simple problems the students could solve very well if they were

taught.

In the test analysis, the questions were used to detect the student area of

difficulties. Analysis of Variance was used in analysing the data.

In the analysis the questionnaire for both teachers and student involves

percentage frequency.

BIBLOGRAPHY

Butler H.C and Wren L.F (1960), The teaching of Secondary School Mathematics,

McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Osifodunrin A.S.A and Yamoah Olusegun (1996), An Introduction to Co-Ordinate

Geometry, JAS Publishers Akoka.

Donald F.D and Jerome E.K (1977), Elementary Mathematics, Published by John

Wiley and Sons Inc.

Wojciech Wisniowski (2009) Article on the low achievement in mathematics, the

teachers perspective.

Jolanta Galecka, (2011) Trends that changing Education.