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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: What is an array?

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From: irvpost <irvpost@excite.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2007112018:18:30
Subject: Re: Re: what is an array?

I do not tink any of the eamples are very good. They leave to much
grey area.

   DEF- The simplest term is a set of blocks that can contain data. 

They are usually defined by row and column. 
Think of a childs blocks stacked 2 high and three wide. This would be
a 2x3 array. Sometimes refered to as a Matrix. Imagine a Sudoku
puzzle. It consists of multiple arrays and 1 large array. You have 9
3x3 arrays, 9 1x9 arrays, 9 9x1 arrays, and 1 9x9 array, The reason
these are considered arrays are because they function together. 
As we get more complex the array can become 3 dimensional. but I feel
this is beyond the scope of this example.

In computer science we have a similar but different view of arrays.
   DEF- An array is a data structure consisting of a group of elements
that are accessed by indexing.

 The main ingrediant of an arrya is an index to hold everything
together. Imagine a 25x5 array. 25 rows and 5 columns. let the first
column be last names, the 2nd being first name, 3rd being age, 4th
would be favorite color and the 5th their home phone number. in order
to be able to sort the data without possibly changing Sherrys favorite
color from Red to Blue and giving her Tera's phone number is to have
an index. The index in an array keeps everything from getting moved
around. Excel is a perfect axample of arrays. Almost everything you
put in exel becomes and array.

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