To Be Presented in the 11th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
December 12-16, 2006, Hong Kong SAR, China

Using Inductive approach to teach Statistics (Measures of Dispersion) with the aid of Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Fang Hao CHEN
Department of Mathematics
Millennia Institute



This paper describes the usage of the inductive approach with the aid of Microsoft Excel in the teaching of statistical concepts such as Measures of Dispersion to engage students during mathematics lesson. In this approach, students are given tangible data in the form of real life data. With certain manipulation of the data, students are guided through proper scaffolding to observe certain patterns and trends. From here, hopefully, students can derive the appropriate mathematical formulae on their own. To manipulate the data with ease, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is used. Excel spinners and macros are incorporated into the spreadsheet as means to control the data with ease. Data is plotted on animated bar charts and scatter plots to cater to students inclined to visual learning. Interaction between students and teacher is also increase as students can verify solutions with the Excel spreadsheet. The ease of data manipulation provides avenues for teachers to pose higher order thinking questions to the students. In addition, the flexibility and user friendliness of the Excel software also allow teachers to customize the spreadsheet according to the needs of the lesson e.g. by changing to the types of statistical graphs that they like or increasing the number of data sets. This method of teaching has shown to be effective in engaging the students both in the cognitive and the affective domains.

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