A system to exploit the spreadsheet ‘excel’ for enhancing learning in science
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A spreadsheet system is briefly described, that enables students, teachers and curriculum developers to rapidly and easily make use of Microsoft Excel's unique database and graphics capabilities in the Science classroom. This system (known as the Warwick Spreadsheet System) uses Excel's inbuilt macro language to provide a range of facilities that are tailor-made for science applications (rather than the business applications for which Excel was originally designed). These include the automatic drawing of graphs of various sorts and the ability to rapidly write mathematical models of scientific phenomena, using (if desired) ordinary words rather than algebraic symbols. Examples of applications in physics, biology meteorology and astronomy are given. These examples are chosen to illustrate different types of application (e.g. data exploration, simulation, modelling, interactive diagrams). Educational advantages of the system are discussed, particularly as they relate to the possibilities of more open-ended investigations, more problem-oriented activities and a more active learning situation.
KeywordsActive Learning Science Classroom Data Exploration Learning Situation Science Application
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