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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: Topic 1 - Effective Software

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Subject:   Spreadsheets
Author: Craig Russell
Date: Mar 17 2003
Whether in Algebra I, Algebra 2/Trig, in COMAP's Math Modeling Our World,
Calculus, or Statistics, I have found spreadsheets to be an invaluable tool.  In
Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, we learn about curve fitting and residuals in a more
visual way than is possible with the graphing calculator.  Currently, some of my
Algebra 2 students are exploring parametric functions and symmetric differences
to obtain speed and acceleration, using fairly simple spreadsheet commands.
Kids coming through COMAP will soon be using spreadsheets to model logistic
growth.  I have introduced differential equations in Calculus for years by
having kids work through various population models numerically (we re-visit
the various models as we learn about anti-derivatives later in the year).  In
teaching Statistics for the first time this year, I have had kids use
spreadsheets for data display (rudimentary), for study of curve fitting, with
random numbers for studies of probability distribution.  And on and on and on...

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