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# Visualizing and discovering materials science concepts: Creating an engaging pedagogy with spreadsheets

Scott A. Sinex
Department of Physical Sciences and Engineering Prince George's Community College

Joshua B. Halpern
Department of Chemistry Howard University
Presented at the 238th ACS National Meeting, Washington, DC, August 16-20, 2009

Easy access for students and useful for them to know Easy for instructors to develop see Developers Guide to Excelets

## Creates an engaging pedagogy

more why?
Addresses topics conceptually, while camouflaging mathematics
Students have to think:

predict - test - analyze Allows for mathematical modeling and studying errors
More science process Mathematics resurfaces!!!!
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## Immediate, visual feedback to students

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MatSci Excelets
Interactive concept exploration Supports Mathematicians' Rule of Four Mathematical modeling Supports national standards in engineering, mathematics, sciences, and technology

## What do students like most?

For use in general chemistry (Spring 09; n = 28 students):

## predict - test - analyze

Student feedback
Which do you prefer: static graphs in textbook dynamic graphs in Excel both Spring 07 21% 76% 3% (6) (22) (1) Spring 09 7% 89% 4% (2) (25) (1)

Using Excelets does not require that you be familiar with Excel. most definitely I think so just barely not at all dont know 7% 38% 34% 14% 7% (2) (11) (10) (4) (2) 25% 36% 32% 7% (7) (10) (9) (2)

## All Student Survey results http://academic.pgcc.edu/~ssinex/excelets/assess.htm

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more feedback
Excelets offer a more visual experience with graphs instead of using just the mathematical equations.

43% 54% 4%

## (12) (15) (1)

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like least?
Make it less voluminous with fewer questions. Less stress on brain and less time spent on it.

These activities require too much brain energy. However, I appreciate the challenge. Stop doing this and just lecture

## The How to resources...

Developer's Guide to Excelets: Dynamic and Interactive Visualization with "Javaless" Applets or Interactive Excel Spreadsheets

## Tutorial, instructions, and a variety of interactive Excel spreadsheet examples

Resource list for mathematics and science
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Contacts: Scott Sinex ssinex@pgcc.edu http://academic.pgcc.edu/~ssinex Josh Halpern jhalpern@howard.edu http://www.coas.howard.edu/chem/jhalpern http://www.coas.howard.edu/PREM/Education/Index.html
This work is supported by the Howard/Hopkins/PGCC Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM), funded by NSF Grant No. DMR-0611595
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## Where will Excelets work?

Since we are using the forms toolbar tools, they function on both PC and Mac! Most all with function in Open Office Calc (open source) with a little cosmetic clean up! Option buttons have a slightly different syntax in Calc. Some of the conditional formatting has an Excel 2003 to Excel 2007 problem (switch tabs back and forth to correct).