Southwestern Michigan College
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Driving Across Town for Cheaper Gas -- A Cost/Benefit Analysis part of Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum:General Collection:Examples
In this Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum activity, students are guided step-by-step to build a spreadsheet that estimates the real cost of driving out of the way for less-expensive gasoline. To better illustrate the modeling process, the module begins with the simplest case of factoring in only the extra gas consumed and is then expanded to consider not only the additional wear-and-tear expense, but also the non-monetary cost of travel time. This module should demonstrate both the power of basic mathematics to analyze authentic relevant scenarios as well as the ease at which this can be accomplished using spreadsheets.
Simple vs. Compound Interest -- Spreadsheeting the Difference part of Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum:General Collection:Examples
In this Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum activity, students are guided step-by-step to build a spreadsheet that compares the future value of an investment that grows exponentially (compound interest) to the future value of the same investment that grows linearly (simple interest). The students calculate the year-to-year succession of future values, plot them on XY-graphs against time, and fit trend lines. The module emphasizes the differences in the future values many years out from the initial investment. Spreadsheet difficulty level is elementary. This module can be the students' first experience in building a spreadsheet to perform a systematic calculation.