Spreadsheet gimmicks and useful documents you can download and play with


 Here are some spreadsheets and documents that I have worked up to illustrate mathematical concepts to myself and to students. The titles are more or less self-explanatory. I offer a brief description, but the best bet is if it looks promising, download it and see if you can use it.


Graphic illustration of a two sample T test, and elementary statistical operation to determine whether one can say with confidence that two samples were not drawn from the same population..

 Statistical sampling.  A spreadsheet with graphs that show the relationship between a sample and a population.  The bigger the sample, the more the graph of the sample and the graph of the population resemble one another.

Three-by-three fixed ANOVA (Analysis of Variants) example.  The example relates student achievement to prior achievement and teaching method.  It uses graphs to help visualize how total variance is accounted for, and to show interaction.

Regression analysis in a spreadsheet using matrix algebra.  Shows the mechanics of regression; a statistics package or Excel's own regression function do it more efficiently. 

Bayes theorem example.  Trying to visualize how it works.  Probabilities of dying if known to be elderly, probability of having been elderly if known to have died. 

 A table that generates a graph of bell curve using the formula instead of spreadsheet functions.


 A table that generates a graph of the spiral, not an easy thing to do, and something that most students tend to use a calculator for.  This one uses a macro: run the macro and watch it draw the spiral.

 A table that generates a double spiral. No macros in this one; it will run on any computer.

 A table to generate a graph of a sine wave. Fairly easy arithmetic, but interesting to watch.

 High School Math

 A spreadsheet and that generates a 3-D graph showing the compound effects of compound interest and the period of deposit.

 A spreadsheet with macros, with graphs that show in real-time the changes in acceleration, velocity, and distance under the force of gravity using Newton's calculus. The macro is disabled.

 A spreadsheet with macros, with graphs that show in real-time the changes in acceleration, velocity, and distance. The macro is disabled. The graphics are adapted to a laptop; a quirk in Windows makes it operate differently depending on screen size.

 A huge spreadsheet that will compute the prime factors of numbers up into the millions.

A much smaller spreadsheet that will compute the prime factors of numbers up to 1000

 Simultaneous equations in a spreadsheet, showing the intersection.

 How to get mathematical symbols in Microsoft Windows. This is useful as a source for cutting and pasting symbols such as the square root sign and so on.

 Foreign Language

Unicode characters in a spreadsheet. The full universe of 65,536 two-byte Unicode characters.  Useful for an eyeball search for hard-to-find mathematical, foreign language, or other special characters. Once you know the hexadecimal code, all you have to do is enter it in Microsoft Word followed by Alt-X, and it will convert to the appropriate character. Once you know what you are looking for, there is a good chance that word will present you with a shortcut so you do not have to key in the hexadecimal.

 The key codes you need to do French and Spanish homework.

 Logic Puzzles

 Missionaries and Cannibals.  Three missionaries and three cannibals have to cross a river.  The boat only holds two people.  You can never allow cannibals to outnumber missionaries.  How do you cross the river? .

 The Tower of Hanoi.  You are presented with a board with three identical pegs.  There is a pyramid of disks in this example only five that you have to move from one peg to another, never putting a bigger one on top of a smaller one.  How do you do it?