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ERIC Number: EJ1154184
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Solving Optimization Problems with Spreadsheets
Beigie, Darin
Mathematics Teacher, v111 n1 p26-33 Sep 2017
Spreadsheets provide a rich setting for first-year algebra students to solve problems. Individual spreadsheet cells play the role of variables, and creating algebraic expressions for a spreadsheet to perform a task allows students to achieve a glimpse of how mathematics is used to program a computer and solve problems. Classic optimization problems that are usually reserved for calculus can be recast as a spreadsheet investigation with younger students. The result is a highly visual approach to the topic of optimization, where emphasis is placed on analyzing and interpreting results. Studying how to make a situation optimal, such as maximizing profit or minimizing travel time, offers algebra students purposeful questions that have real-world relevance. In this article the author discusses four problems to show how accessible classic optimization problems can be for younger students.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A