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Using Excel in Mathematics

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Presentation on how to use Excel to increase understanding in math.

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Using Excel in Mathematics

  1. 1. Fighting Math Fatigue with Excel Reva Narasimhan Kean University, NJ [email_address]
  2. 2. Why spreadsheets? <ul><li>Spreadsheet software is widely available and easy to learn. </li></ul><ul><li>Algebraic concepts are often too abstract for many students. </li></ul><ul><li>These concepts take on more meaning when they can be explored in a concrete fashion. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Designing Materials <ul><li>Demos </li></ul><ul><li>Short interactive pieces to get across a single concept. Allows users to put to see pencil and paper work “come to life” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Review Example: Slope of Line <ul><li>Students tie together the geometric, algebraic and numerical representations of the slope of a line. </li></ul><ul><li>The numeric representation is through a table , with the algebraic representation given by the underlying formulas used in creating the input/output table. The geometric representation is given by the resulting graph of the line . </li></ul>
  5. 5. More Demos <ul><li>Parabolas : shows the effect of the values of a,b, and c on the shape of the parabola </li></ul><ul><li>Composite functions : shows the meaning of domain of composite functions </li></ul>
  6. 6. Excel Tip: Sliders <ul><li>Adding sliders is straightforward – Go to </li></ul><ul><li>View > Toolbars > Forms </li></ul><ul><li>Single click on the slider icon. Position on worksheet. Adjust size. Right click and select Format Control to describe properties for your slider. </li></ul>
  7. 7. M&M activity on decay <ul><li>Shake up M&M’s and drop the candies on a piece of paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Count how many have “m” on top </li></ul><ul><li>Record on paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Count how many total M&M’s there are in your packet. This is the initial value . </li></ul><ul><li>Remove these candies and repeat Steps 2-4 until no more candies are left. </li></ul><ul><li>Record results in Excel spreadsheet and model the behavior. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Review Example: Solutions of Equations <ul><li>Using pencil and paper, solving an equation involves several steps of algebraic manipulation. </li></ul><ul><li>Students study a variety of techniques and may not necessarily realize the significance of a solution of an equation. </li></ul><ul><li>In Excel, solutions of equations are found using a feature called Goal Seek. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Designing Materials <ul><li>Tutorials These worksheets illustrate a particular topic in mathematics using the capabilities of Excel </li></ul><ul><li>They can be used as in-class activities in the course and can also be used as homework assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors may find these tutorials helpful in designing lectures which incorporate computer presentations </li></ul>
  10. 10. Summary <ul><li>A spreadsheet can be used to unify algebraic, tabular and graphical representations of an abstract concept. </li></ul><ul><li>Gives valuable insight which may not be gained by just pencil and paper work. </li></ul><ul><li>Shows students the power of technology to explore and make conjectures which would otherwise be very difficult or impossible. </li></ul><ul><li>Helping students build such insight is invaluable as they move on to other courses and their professions. </li></ul>
  11. 11. More information <ul><li>Download all Excel materials from </li></ul><ul><li>www.mymathspace.net </li></ul><ul><li>Click into the Spreadsheets link </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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