In this investigation I will look at the power of spreadsheets
in the mathematics classroom. I hope to show that spreadsheets
can be a very useful tool to both teachers and students in the
understanding of some mathematics applications.
I will investigate a problem that involves four numbers as
well as the absolute value of the difference of those numbers.
My goal is to find when or if the four numbers will be reduced
I need to begin by setting up the spreadsheet I wish to use.
I will have in the first row, four numbers, one in each of the
four columns. In the second and following rows, I will have the
formulas |A-B|, |B-C|, |C-D|, and |D-A|. So that as the numbers
move down the rows of the spreadsheet, the absolute values change
until all cells are filled with zeros.
After many trials, the most rows I could achieve before reaching
all zeros was eight.
This investigation shows the power of the spreadsheet. If
given a similar type of assignment fifteen years ago, a high school
student may struggle for hours to find a similar answer. However,
with a spreadsheet and the proper formulas, the answer can be
found in less than five seconds.