Numerical Algebraic Modeling of Earth's Atmosphere using MSExcel
This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.
This activity is designed to introduce students to atmospheric modeling using established algebraic models. MSExcel is purposely chosen as the programming and visualization tool because of its availability, ease of use and flexibility. During the programming phase, students are required to develop and execute logic constructs to implement the algebraic equations. They are then required to visualize the raw data obtained from these algebraic equations using MSExcel plotting options. This simulation data can then be compared against data from weather balloons stations.
Keywords: Mathematical Modeling, Algorithm Development, Scientific Programming, Data Visualization and Analysis, High School STEM activity
Context for Use
The activity is intended to merge classroom lectures with a real world activity. Often students have expressed interest in 'how is this concept/lecture' related to the real world. Instructors can use this exercise to introduce students to computer modeling, simulation, data analysis, and model verification. The skills obtained from this activity can be transferred to every field in STEM education and can serve students at all levels throughout their academic career.These models have been used to obtain freestream data for models used in upper level undergraduate and graduate Aircraft design and Aircraft propulsion courses.
Description and Teaching Materials
- The required set of algebraic equations which can be found at http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/airplane/atmosmet.html
- Microsoft Office
- Data from weather balloons
- MSExcel_worksheet (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 513kB Feb26 13)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
- 2012 High School Teachers Small Satellite Workshop (Acrobat (PDF) 1.7MB Feb26 13)