### Math 1332 Reflection 4: Functions in Spreadsheets and Graphs

At the bottom of our
class links page, you will find the spreadsheets from the groups
who solved the Immigration, Ozone Layer, and Population Modeling
problems in class. For this reflection, you are to choose any one of
these three *which you did not originally solve*, and analyze it as
follows. First, reread the problem statement in the coursepack until you
understand what the whole problem is trying to investigate. Then download the
spreadsheet for that problem, and make a graph for the main process being
modeled if the spreadsheet does not already have one. Now, in your reflection:
- Explain what the main point of this problem was: what question was it
asking us to answer or investigate? (Do not retype a sentence from the
coursepack verbatim -- paraphrase the whole problem.) This does not mean
answering all the questions asked in the coursepack; just say what the problem
is about.
- Include a printout of the graph.
- Interpret the graph: in particular, what can you say about the slope?
about the concavity? What kind of function does this look like? e.g., linear,
quadratic (parabola), exponential growth, exponential decay, etc.
What does this mean in the context of the problem?
- What kind of functions (see previous question for some options) do you see
in the formulae in the spreadsheet cells? Are they the same kind as the graph
appears to be? Should you expect them to be?
- What was the most difficult thing about using a spreadsheet someone else
made? (I'm not inviting criticism here -- though if you have suggestions for
improvement, you may include them -- but rather asking you to reflect upon the
process of using someone else's work to derive your own conclusions.)

A couple of quick notes: (1) If you have any difficulties, I encourage you to
ask me for help. Of course, you are always welcome to work with classmates
too. (2) The Population Modeling spreadsheet has the graphs already made --
but there are more than one function to interpret, so if you analyze that one,
you exchange the work of making the graph for the work of explaining the
additional function(s). (3) The third and fourth items above, involving types
of functions, require some thought. Be sure to address them.
*Due in class Tuesday, November 19, 2002.*