Developer's Guide to Excelets:

Dynamic and Interactive Visualization with "Javaless" Applets

or Interactive Excel
Spreadsheets

Examples of Excelets | Instructions | Mathematical Modeling | Assessment | Chemical
Excelets (for general chemistry) |
MatSci Excelets (for materials science) |
Astro Excelets (for intro astronomy) |

*
Excelets* are interactive Excel spreadsheets or simulations of
mathematical models. The user changes a variable and the spreadsheet changes in
numerical, graphical, and/or even symbolic form (equations). Through the use of
numerical experimentation and "what if" scenarios, we have a powerful learning tool
for students using readily available off-the-shelf software. All of this is
done computationally with no use of programming, no macros or Visual Basics for
Applications, VBA. The use of VBA adds another level of sophistication via
programming and also possible security concerns. An Excelet with or without VBA resembles a
"Javaless"
applet. It is assumed that users of this guide are experienced with the use of
Excel. If you need to gain this experience, see
Using Excel for
Handling, Graphing, and Analyzing Scientific Data: A Resource for Science and
Mathematics Students (2003) to get started. If you are just converting over
to Excel 2007, here is a quick guide to
get you started. What
features NOT supported in Excel 2007,
click here!
See Dealing with Data in Excel 2010 for
using Excel 2010.

Some of the new interactive spreadsheets are done in Google Sheets (very Excel-like), which has great data pooling capabilities, see Data Pool in the Cloud for more information and activities or read Oh Sheets!: A Tool for Online Collaboration in the Cloud.

Here are some examples of Excelets in chemistry and mathematics (For best results - right click and then select Save Target As... to download, then open directly in Excel) :

interactive features tour | fractions | derivatives |

flipping pennies |
box-and-whisker plot (using drag-and-drop of data points) |
M&M's counting ("just add data", How does your bag compare?) |

descriptive statistics ("just add data", visual display of variation) |
calorie calculator (list box and lookup table, "just add data") |
temperature scales (deriving conversions and inverse functions) |

E^{o} vs. EN(data culling using autofilters) |
potential energy
diagram (using drag-and-drop of data points) |
interactive periodic trends (lots of features for changing graphs) |

counting
coins (coin equivalency, summation, and making change) |
area
and perimeter (comparison for a square and rectangle) |
The Acceleration Due to Gravity |

How
do you square a binomial? (visualizing by graphing a square and determining area) |
Pythagorean
Theory (two visual geometric proofs) |
Playing
the Genetic Odds! (random numbers, sample size, and error) |

Area of
a ring (concentric circles and setting areas) |
Orbital
Motion (circular and elliptical motion and trig functions) |
Blackbody Radiation (linear and logarithmic scales) |

Exploring the Family of Quadratic Functions |
Shake,
Rattle, and Roll… (earthquakes, p & s waves with distance-time & locating epicenters) |
Pan
Water Cycle (systems model) |

P-V-T
Surface Plot (a 3-D surface plot) |
ideal gas law (activity) | radioactive decay (activity) |

number line (examines adding/subtracting positive/negative integers) |
Gnomon (a vertical shadow stick and many measurements) |
Solar System (scaling and habitable zone) |

Septic Tanks (residence time and pumping) |
Exploring
Relative Humidity (examine the behavior of water vapor in the atmosphere) |
Classifying
Stars (the Hertzsprung-Russell or H-R Diagram) |

Spectroscopy
in Motion (Doppler Effect and measuring velocity in astronomy) |
How small an impactor can reach the surface of a planet? (parameters that influence) | Will the peg fit in the opening? |

Dynamic Right Triangles |
Quadratic Equation Root Finder (Google Sheets) (in Google Sheets, go to File > Make a copy... to have an interactive spreadsheet) |
Taking the repeated square root of a number (Google Sheets) (in Google Sheets, go to File > Make a copy... to have an interactive spreadsheet) |

For more Excelets in general chemistry, see the Chemical Excelets page and for materials science, see the MatSci Excelets page.

How do I get started developing Excelets?

The basics of developing interactive computational Excel spreadsheets are described in An Interactive Higher-Order Thinking Tool, which includes an Excel tutorial to get you started. For step-by-step instructions to get started with two Excelets, see Interactive Excel Spreadsheets: Constructing Visualization Tools to Enhance Your Learner-centered Math and Science Classroom. Here is an excellent website for Excelets in mathematics:

Interactive MS Excel Workbooks and
instructions (See ICTCM 2008 for starters)

Listed below are a series of links to pdf files that describe a variety of useful things needed to develop Excelets. Numerous screen shots are included with the instructions. The forms toolbar tools are used because they operate on both PC and Mac platforms. Will Excelets function in Open Office Calc? - click here

Viewing spreadsheets containing macros requires a change in security - click here for instructions.

A major use of Excelets is to support mathematical modeling in the sciences.

*http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/25383 **http://mathforum.org/mathtools/activity/25384 ***http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/20618 ****http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/22405

High school teacher-developed Excelets as part of Computation and Science for Teachers (CAST) Workshop held at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, in Pittsburgh, PA and in partnership with the Maryland Virtual High School:

Computational Resources | Overview of CAST | |

Computational Spreadsheets | CAST Professional Development Modules |

More high school teacher-developed Excelets from the Hampton Roads Modeling and Simulation Initiative.

An excellent
source of information on spreadsheets in all disciplines is
**
Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE).**

**
Excel resources for mathematics and the sciences -
click here for a pdf file with hot links (2/11 version).**

Please e-mail any corrections, modifications, suggestions, or questions.

Scott A. Sinex Prince George’s Community College 12/2016