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Energize, Engage, Empower Student Thinking & Learning with Spreadsheet Simulations Scott A. Sinex Physical Sciences & Engineering Prince George’s Community College 13 April 2012

Let’s roll the die… dice… What does the distribution of face numbers look like? How long would it take if rolling by hand?

frequency So let’s roll in a spreadsheet… Predict what the graph would look like! face number Calculation for each roll of a die =RANDBETWEEN(1, 6)

To die for: What are the chances? We can investigate variability! http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/excelets/dice_roll. xls

Why interactive spreadsheets? • Easy access for students and teachers and useful for them to know • Easy for instructors to develop – see Developer’s Guide to Excelets • Creates an engaging pedagogy in math and the sciences “Excel to Engage”

…more why? • Addresses topics conceptually, while camouflaging mathematics – Students have to think: predict - test - analyze …and explain!!! • Allows for mathematical modeling and studying errors – More science process – More multivariable approach (more real world) – Mathematics resurfaces!!!! Yes it returns!!! (Even more)

Do some big time science… Data …and use some math Mathematical model Go AMATYC! Numerical simulation Fine print: Never remove experiments for simulations, add simulations to extend your experiments!

…and address important human interest questions such as: Why is pizza cut in even number of slices? Do you want pepperoni?

A simple interactive visual and for even slices, a straight cut! Here we use spinner from the Forms toolbar. The Forms Tools operate on both PC and Mac platforms. http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/excelets/fractions. xls

Construct complicated models Is there a relationship between the height of the cookie stack and number of cookies?

“Just add data” Excelet data mathematical model http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/cookies_stack. xls

backwards Do reverse science process ideal Use the simulation to get the model ^ How does the height of the candle vary over time?

How does a burning candle behave? Here we collect the data by clicking the up arrow on the spinner. animation http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/excelets/burning_candles. xls

…adding error to the data Scatter is added to the data by increasing random error. =E 6+$K$7*RANDBETWEEN(-10, 10)/10+$G$10 The circled scroll bar controls the size of random variation.

Is sea level changing? October 2010 – Collapsed house on Holland October 2009 - Last house on Holland Island (? )in Chesapeake Bay Island in Chesapeake Bay! island? island http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Holland_Island coastalcare. org

What does tide gauge data tell us? Option buttons allow which data set is viewed. http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/excelets/inundator. xls

But can just anyone do this? YES!!!

Building a simulation • Let’s construct a model for the behavior of the quadratic equation • Our multivariable equation y = ax 2 + bx + c • How does the graph behave when we vary a, b, and c?

Set-up screen Simulation of Quadratic Equation Behavior http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/excelets/NC/Simulation_Quadratic. Eqn_NC. pdf

Baseball pop-up and quadratic… Multivariable and a practical application http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex/excelets/quadratics. xls

The “How to” resources. . . Developer's Guide to Excelets: Dynamic and Interactive Visualization with "Javaless" Applets or Interactive Excel Spreadsheets

In the end… • Easy access technology both in & out of class • An engaging pedagogy • More scientific and algebraic thinking • More multivariable (real world) approach • Can venture into some more complicated concepts (keep math camouflaged)

More info… • Scott Sinex [email protected] edu http: //academic. pgcc. edu/~ssinex • Google or Bing: excelets …and THANKS for attending!!!

More resources… • Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Computation and Science Teachers (CAST) Professional Development Modules (uses Excel, Vensim, and Net. Logo) http: //www. psc. edu/eot/k 12/2011 yr. php • Modules 2 A, 5 A, and 6 – use Excel