What Time Did The Potato Die?
In this Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum activity, students use "crime scene" data of body temperature vs. time to determine the time of death of a potato crime victim. Students will learn to create a spreadsheet, make graphs, add trend lines, and work with linear and exponential curves in an effort to graphically estimate and algebraically calculate the potato's time of death. The module introduces the mathematical concepts of linear and exponential graphing, unit conversions, and trend lines.
- Learn how to create and work with a spreadsheet in Excel.
- Learn how to create a graph within Excel.
- Gain experience with adding and working with trend lines.
- Gain experience with converting units while solving a problem.
- Gain experience with interpreting graphs and choosing the best graph to represent a given set of data.
- Model an exponential-decay phenomenon to solve a problem.
- Learn more about the complexities of interpreting time of death in a forensic setting.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
PowerPoint SSAC2005:HV8079.RS1.1_student (PowerPoint 403kB May27 10)
The module is a PowerPoint presentation with embedded spreadsheets.
If the embedded spreadsheets are not visible, save the PowerPoint file to disk and open it from there.
This PowerPoint file is the student version of the module. An instructor version is available by request. The instructor version includes the completed spreadsheet. Send your request to Len Vacher (firstname.lastname@example.org) by filling out and submitting the Instructor Module Request Form.