Spreadsheet activity to introduce the number e:
Students use the fill down option for column one in increments of one.
In the second column students enter a formula which will generate the series 1+1/1!+1/2!+...1/n!
For column three students enter a formula to evaluate the binomial (1+ 1/n)^n.
Using the make chart option students view the values generated in the spreadsheet.
Looking at the chart and values in the spreadsheet, students quickly accept an explanation of the definitions for the number e. By drawing on previous knowledge of the behavior of exponential functions students extend the activity by graphing functions with base e as well as evaluating expressions which contain e.
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