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Fostering a Conceptual Understanding in Undergraduate Materials Education: A Multivariable Animated Spreadsheet Approach

  • Scott A. Sinex (a1) and Joshua B. Halpern (a2)

We describe how students explore materials science concepts using animated interactive spreadsheets. An engaging pedagogy is created in the classroom using spreadsheets in a way that initially camouflages mathematical complexity, which can later be revealed and taught. Use of off-the-shelf spreadsheet software, including freeware makes these spreadsheets universally available.

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1.Materials Science Excelets are available for download at (accessed November 2010).
2.Gabel, D., Educational Horizons 81 (2), 7076 (2003).
3.Sinex, S.A., Scientific and Algebraic Thinking: Visualizing with Interactive Excel and Nested Styrofoam Cups, in On-Line Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges in Washington, DC (2008). [Online] Available: (accessed November 2010).
4.Sinex, S.A., Chemical spreadsheet investigations: Empowering student learning of concepts via camouflaged mathematical exploration, in Using Computers in Chemical Education Newsletter, Fall 2007 issue (2007). [Online] Available: (accessed November 2010).
5.Sinex, S.A. and Halpern, J.B., Discovery learning tools in materials science: Concept visualization with dynamic and interactive spreadsheets, in Proceedings of the Materials Research Society Symposium: Materials Education, vol. 1233, 9196 (2010).
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MRS Online Proceedings Library (OPL)
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1946-4274
  • URL: /core/journals/mrs-online-proceedings-library-archive
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