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Volume 2 | Issue 3 Article 3
Spreadsheet Numerical Modeling in Secondary School Physics and Biology
Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, Slovakia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow this and additional works at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie Recommended Citation
Benacka, Jan (2007) "Spreadsheet Numerical Modeling in Secondary School Physics and Biology," Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE): Vol. 2: Iss. 3, Article 3. Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3
This In the Classroom Article is brought to you by the Faculty of Business at ePublications@bond. It has been accepted for inclusion in Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE) by an authorized administrator of ePublications@bond. For more information, please contact Bond University's Repository Coordinator.
edu. The models enable student to experiment with the inputs and investigate the behavior of the systems. secondary school. dynamic systems.au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3 . and damped oscillation.Spreadsheet Numerical Modeling in Secondary School Physics and Biology Abstract The paper gives three examples of numeric modeling with spreadsheets in secondary school (age 15+) physics and biology − free fall in the air. The aim is to introduce the reader to numeric modeling. biology This in the classroom article is available in Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE): http://epublications. The simplest numeric methods are used − Euler’s. Keywords spreadsheet model. animal population.bond. physics. and the finite difference method.
some standard questions arise among students who are genuinely interested in the matter: what is the solution. However. and damped oscillation. The aim is to introduce the reader to numerical modeling. dynamic systems. in some cases. and animal population.au/ejsie/ All rights reserved. Introduction During secondary school study. and to enlarge the knowledge of passionate young scientists. and the finite difference method. biology. The mathematics of those is easy to comprehend. It is rather frustrating then for a young scientist to hear at the end of a physics lesson that all the presented theory is a fairy tale as the main precondition is usually not fulfilled (vacuum in the free fall of a body). The models enable student to experiment with the inputs and investigate the behavior of the systems. http://epublications. so the systems are studied in a simplified way. The only skill that is required is making the maximum ranges of the axes in the charts constant. animal population. © 2007 Spreadsheets in Education. As the length of these approaches zero. and the conditions are idealized. there is no idealization (animal population). The simplest numerical methods are used − Euler’s. The main precondition for getting a model of sufficient precision is to divide the interval of the independent variable into a large number of subintervals.g.bond.edu. BondUniversity. They were made in Excel 2003. Keywords: spreadsheet model. the ratio of finite differences approaches the derivative. or even cannot be fulfilled (eliminating the damping force of a harmonic oscillator). e. Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press. The behavior of these can be described by differential equations. In the paper. 2007 1 . secondary school. calculus is usually taught in the highest grade. if necessary. In some cases. or what is the behavior of the real system without the idealization? One way to answer the question. v = lim ( Δs Δt ) = d s d t . 1. A spreadsheet program is the ideal tool to carry Δt →0 out such a model. It presents an interactive form that enables students to experiment and find boundary or limiting cases. students are acquainted with various dynamic systems. physics. Hence.Benacka: Numerical modeling in secondary school physics and biology Spreadsheet Numerical Modeling in Secondary School Physics and Biology Abstract The paper gives three examples of numerical modeling with spreadsheets in secondary school (age 15+) physics and biology − free fall in the air. the precondition can be fulfilled easily (amplitude smaller than 5° degrees of a simple pendulum). three examples of such modeling in secondary school physics and biology are given − free fall in the air. damped oscillation. is by making models using numerical methods.
and let the body start at time t = 0 from position y = 0 at velocity v = 0. One method is based on the free fall of a solid body of constant mass m from a known height while a stopwatch measures the duration of the fall. Δt (2) The velocity v and position y of the body is given by the well‐known formulas  v = gt . Iss. 2 (3) The graphs of v and y against t are in Fig. m Δv = mg . 3 . four grades altogether). y(0) = 0 . Free fall in the air The acceleration of free fall g is commonly measured in secondary school physics. 2. There are two forces that act on a falling body – gravity 290 http://epublications.Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE). then only the gravity force G = gm acts on the body (downwards). If the fall takes place in a vacuum. v( 0) = 0 .edu.au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3 2 . 1. the fall usually takes place in the air. We mark them y v and v v . dt (1) or. Let the positive y semi‐axis be oriented downwards. Figure 1: Velocity and distance of a free falling ball in the air These formulas are only valid in a vacuum. Art. However. 3 NUMERICAL MODELING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS AND BIOLOGY 2.bond. as approximated by using a discrete difference equation in the first grade of secondary school (age 15 in Slovakia. y(0) = 0 . v(0) = 0 . The equation of motion is (we assume constant mass m) m dv = mg . y = 1 2 gt . Vol.
y(0) = 0 . y(0) = 0 . 2007 3 .1 to 0. ρ a . 1. ρ b . as approximated by using a discrete difference equation.Benacka: Numerical modeling in secondary school physics and biology JAN BENACKA G = gm (downwards) and the air resistance force (drag) F = CSρ a v 2 / 2 (upwards) . we assume constant mass m. g are the inputs. 4 d ρb (8) Parameters C.e. S is the maximum cross‐section area of the body perpendicular to the direction of the velocity. v( 0) = 0 . ( ) (10) (11) eJSiE 2(3) 289‐298 In The Classroom 291 Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press. i = 0 . Δt where A= CSρ a . Then. The velocity at time t i is v i = v i −1 + Δ v i −1 . again. dt 2 (4) or dv = g − Av 2 . where t n = t max and t i = t i −1 + Δ t . i. t 0 = 0 . where C is the drag coefficient that is dependent on the shape of the body. v( 0) = 0 . (5) Δv ≈ g − Av 2 . We get time points t i . t max .5 depending on the smoothness of the surface . Suppose that the fall takes place in time interval 0 . (9) The velocity increment at time t i results from equation (6) Δ vi = g − Avi2 Δ t . and ρ a is the density of the air. v(0) = 0 . The equation of motion is m dv 1 = mg − CSρ a v 2 . we get the case in which the task and the solution are in a vacuum. dt or. d. " . For a ball. A= 3 C ρa . 2m (6) (7) We assume that the body is a ball with diameter d and density ρ b . If A = 0. We divide the interval into n equal segments of length Δ t = t i − t i −1 . n . C ranges from 0. We assume the body to be solid enough not to lose weight due to the drag and temperature rise. y(0) = 0 .
As G is constant. and the resistance force F increases with the ball’s velocity. The columns for i. (12) enable one to compute points (t i . 1. t n − t n −1 Δt is (17) 292 http://epublications. at any accuracy that one works with. if t max is big enough (see below). y n ) .e. y i ) of the distance graph. The gray cells contain formulas. The distance between the points of the graph and the asymptote decreases as time t increases. 1. (t n−1 . t i . 2. Consequently. ( ) (12) Recurrence equations (9). (16) enable one to compute points (t i . (14) As y i = y i −1 + Δ y i −1 .bond. y n−1 ) for the points of the asymptote and get the equation of the asymptote. we assume the next points of the graph to be the points of the asymptote. Then. y v . The equation G = F yields v max = g A .au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3 4 . 1). when the ball’s velocity approaches the asymptotic velocity v max . the latter has to equalize the first one at some time. The graph of this constant function is a horizontal line − an asymptote to the velocity graph (see Fig. i = 1. (16) Recurrence equations (9). there has to be a time point from which on the distance is too small to be considerable. Art. v i ) of the velocity graph. the body continues moving with constant velocity v max − the terminal velocity of the fall. v v .Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE). The result for n = 1000 is in Fig. From then on. y i continue downwards for 1000 rows (hidden columns V − AG). Vol.edu. v max ) and (t max . which y= y n − y n −1 y −y (t − t n ) + y n = n n−1 (t − t n ) + y n = v n−1 (t − t n ) + y n . The distance graph of a uniformly moving body is a line. (15) we get y i = y i −1 + vi −1 Δ t . Since v= dy Δy ≈ . v max ) . v 0 = 0 . 3 NUMERICAL MODELING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS AND BIOLOGY or. Iss. we may take points (t n . We create it by designing a two‐point graph given by points (0 . using equation (10) at index (i‐1) v i = v i −1 + g − Av i2−1 Δ t . n . Hence. The result at n = 1000 is in Fig. the distance graph has to merge with a line − the asymptote to the graph. dt Δt (13) then Δ yi = vi Δ t . 3 . and we can omit that i. y 0 = 0 . v i . " .
and paste special the values (only) into the white cells labeled “asymptote” (the asymptote is made as a two‐point graph upon these four cells). N (0 ) = N 0 . Model of animal population In the logistic growth model.013 sec) and decreases rapidly to 10 % at i = 10 (t = 0. but the asymptote stays steady. the number N of animals of one species that live in a closed territory and feed on food only produced there is given by differential equation [9. dt K or. The error in distance is 100 % at i = 1 (t = 0. 1). and to 0. for spreadsheet analysis of school experiments with falling balls with quadratic drag see . for modeling projectile motion with quadratic drag with spreadsheets see .1 % at i = 587 (t = 7. t max = 13 sec divided into 1000 segments.Benacka: Numerical modeling in secondary school physics and biology JAN BENACKA where we use equation (16). the maximum error in velocity is ‐0. 2007 5 . y = ln cosh t gA .02 %. approximately. The graphs change back.29 kgm‐3. ρ b . 3. however.63 sec). y n are computed in the last row (1007) of the table.42 sec. ΔN r = rN − N 2 .81 ms‐2). A short macro can execute the copying and pasting (see button “asymptote” in Fig. The analytic solution to equation (5) is [2. Then. 4] v= g 1 tanh t gA . 10] dN r = rN − N 2 . Then. drag coefficient C = 0. air density ρ a = 1. Δt K (21) (20) eJSiE 2(3) 289‐298 In The Classroom 293 Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press. gravity acceleration g = 9. (18) We use the following procedure to get the asymptote: whenever we change inputs C. ρ a .4. A A ( ) [ ( )] (19) For the chosen ball (diameter d = 2 cm. we adjust t max to the previous value (13 sec in this case).13 sec).05 % at t = 5. there is no possibility to undo the previous actions. made of iron ρ b = 7800 kgm‐3.28 sec). for accuracy in computing acceleration of free fall if equation (3) is used instead of equation (19) see . N (0 ) = N 0 . the error at t = 13 sec is ‐0. g. d. 1). we adjust t max to a value big enough to get a velocity graph with clear asymptotical part (it is t max = 30 sec in Fig. y n to the clipboard. As v n−1 = v max = g A (see above). Remarks: For numerical ordinary differential equations see . the asymptote is y = g A (t − t n ) + y n .04 %. to 1 % at i = 98 (t = 1. We refer to those cells in the cells labeled “help” (hidden) to get the values at our disposal. the error at t = 13 sec is 0. we copy t n . The values of t n .
39.07. K ⎝ ⎠ (25) (24) (23) (22) Recurrence equations (22). and man worldwide. i = 1.98 % at t = 7 years . sardine. the number N approaches the capacity K (N cannot exceed K). K ) . N i ) of the graph. We can create it as a two‐point graph given by points (0 . t 0 = 0 . " . If t max >> 1 . N 0 is given or r ⎛ ⎞ N i = N i −1 + ⎜ rN i −1 − N i2−1 ⎟ Δ t . y 0 < 1 . 3 . 294 http://epublications. n .0125  per year for the field mouse. 0. t i . roe deer. continue downwards for 1000 rows (hidden columns K − M). We divide the interval into n equal segments of length Δ t = t i − t i −1 . n . 3 NUMERICAL MODELING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS AND BIOLOGY where r is the growth rate (increment in number of specimen per head and time unit.Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE). and N 0 is the number of individuals at the start. it is 5. t max = 30 years divided into 1000 segments). " . Suppose that the system develops over the time interval 0 . i = 0 . The analytic solution to equation (20) is  y= y0 .23. The incremental growth of the number N at time t i is r ⎛ ⎞ Δ N i = ⎜ rN i − N i2 ⎟ Δ t . y 0 = N 0 K . Vol. n . For the chosen system (growth rate r = 0. starting number N 0 = 2 . The gray cells contain formulas. K. 2. respectively). 0. " . K ⎝ ⎠ The number of animals in time t i is then N i = N i −1 + Δ N i −1 .au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3 6 . 2. K ) and (t max . K is the carrying capacity of the habitat (maximum number of specimen that the territory can provide with food). 0. 1. y . Art. We get time points t i . i = 1.edu. Quantities r. The columns for i. The result at n = 1000 is in Fig. (25) enable one to compute points (t i . Iss. t max . Hence.bond. where t n = t max and t i = t i −1 + Δ t . capacity K = 100. N 0 are the inputs. and N i . the maximum error in N is 0.39. y 0 + (1 − y 0 ) e −rt (26) where y = N K . the line N = K is an asymptote of the graph.
Damped oscillation of a body on spring A body on spring is a subject to two forces – the elasticity of the spring. 2007 7 . The friction force is directly proportional to the velocity v. If the body starts at time t = 0 from position y = A (A is the amplitude) at velocity v = 0. then the equation of motion is m or ma = − ky . y(0) = A . there is the air drag. but we can eliminate that if we put the oscillator in a vacuum chamber). and a is the acceleration. The equation of motion is 295 eJSiE 2(3) 289‐298 In The Classroom Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press. The solution is [12.Benacka: Numerical modeling in secondary school physics and biology JAN BENACKA Figure 2: Population of animals in a closed territory 4. the friction force always acts between the particles of a real spring. in which case the method is very vague. However. and that dampen the oscillation until it stops (moreover. y(0) = A . d2 y = − ky . and the gravity. The resultant force is directly proportional to the deflection y and acts against it. (We note that the derivation of equation (29) in the first grade of secondary school is often based on a parallelism between the oscillator and circular motion. and acts against the deflection y. (29) where ω = k m . 13] y = A cos(ωt ) . v(0) = 0 . v(0) = 0 . dt2 (27) (28) where k is the elastic constant of the spring.) equation (29) describes the motion of an ideal oscillator that moves without any friction.
we get d2 y dy + 2α + ω 2 y = 0 . dt Δt Δt (32) (33) ⎛dy⎞ ⎛ Δ y ⎞ y i +1 − y i y i − y i −1 d⎜ ⎟ Δ⎜ ⎟ − d y y − 2 y i + y i −1 ⎝ dt ⎠ ≈ ⎝ Δt ⎠ = Δt Δt = = i +1 . t max . We approximate  d y Δ y y i − y i −1 ≈ = .bond. n .edu. 1. then we can check that the graphs are the same (this is a demonstration that equation (29) is valid − the validity of such a “proof” is comparable to the validity of the above‐mentioned parallelism. The columns for i. The analytic solution to equation (31) is [12. v(0) = 0 . 13] α > ω : y = A e −αt ⎢cosh(t α 2 − ω 2 ) + α ⎢ ⎣ ⎡ sinh(t α 2 − ω 2 ) ⎤ ⎥ ⎥ α 2 −ω2 ⎦ (37) α = ω : y = A e −αt (1 + αt ) (38) 296 http://epublications. Recurrence equations (32). then we get the free oscillation.au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3 8 . We get time points t i . y 0 = A . y(0) = A . v(0 ) = Δy Δt = t =0 y1 − y 0 =0. If we add the analytic graph given by equation (29) into the chart. t 0 = 0 . The gray cells contain formulas. " . If we put r = 0. i = 0 . 3. y i continue downwards for 1000 rows (hidden columns K − M). Iss. where t n = t max and t i = t i −1 + Δ t . Vol. y 1 = A . 2 dt dt (31) Suppose that the oscillation take place in time interval 0 . 2 dt Δt Δt (Δ t )2 dt 2 (34) y(0 ) = y 0 = A . Δt (35) Substitution of equation (33 − 35) into equation (31) gives y i +1 = 2 − 2αh − ω 2 h 2 y i + (2αh − 1)y i −1 . t i . the maximum difference between the numerical and the analytic model is ±0. dt2 (30) where r is the damping coefficient. 3 NUMERICAL MODELING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS AND BIOLOGY m d2 y = −rv − ky .024 ). (36) enable one to compute points (t i . ( ) (36) where h is for Δ t to simplify the notation. y i ) of the graph.Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE). 2. We divide the interval into n equal segments of length Δ t = t i − t i −1 . Art. The result for n = 1000 is in Fig. 3 . Introducing 2α = r m .
but they are more complicated. k = 0. to 5000 makes the methods considerably more precise.885 % at t = 16 sec. We refer to Wikipedia on purpose to get the information at students’ disposal.g. The aim of the paper is to introduce the reader to numerical modeling. which are presented to students in secondary school. eJSiE 2(3) 289‐298 In The Classroom 297 Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press. They enable student to experiment with the inputs and look for relations between them and the behavior of the system. as well as the analytic solutions.14. The models are also useful for showing and studying the limiting cases that exist at each system. r = 0. Figure 3: Damped oscillation of a body on spring 5. and t max = 20 sec divided to 1000 segments) is 0.1. That is why we have used the simplest numerical methods − Euler’s method in the first and the second example. m = 0.Benacka: Numerical modeling in secondary school physics and biology JAN BENACKA α < ω : y = A e −αt ⎢cos(t ω 2 − α 2 ) + α ⎢ ⎣ ⎡ sin(t ω 2 − α 2 ) ⎤ ⎥ ω2 −α 2 ⎥ ⎦ (39) The error of the numerical model at the stated inputs (A = 2. We note that increasing the number of divisional points of the main time interval e. and the numerical models are precise enough compared to the analytic solution. Conclusion The examples show that it is possible to model dynamic systems without the knowledge of the differential equations that describe them. The difference equations. and the finite difference method in the third one. 2007 9 . There are more precise methods that might have been used. give a good approximation even in the case of the second derivative. The interested persons can find them in the literature. The models mirror well physical reality.02.
wikipedia. 2007. 2007. Oct 5. from http://en. Accuracy in computing acceleration of free fall in the air. (1995).. Oct 5. ISBN 0‐ 534‐42085‐0.org/wiki/Numerical_ordinary_differential_equations  Gluck. ISBN 80‐224‐0033‐5  Logistic function. Dynamické modely biologických spoločenstiev. Physics for Scientists and Engineers. McGraw‐Hill. from http://en.org/wiki/Drag_coefficient  Barger V. 2007.D.org/wiki/Atmospheric_drag  Drag coefficient. Vol. (2005). ISSN 0031‐921x  Smitalova. 2007. Retrieved 10:40.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_fall  Drag (physics). In Wikipedia.wikipedia. E.wikipedia. Retrieved 10:40. The Free Encyclopedia. 2nd ed.wikipedia. P.. Art. The Active Modeler: Mathematical Modeling with Microsoft Excel.wikipedia. ISBN 0070037345.au/ejsie/vol2/iss3/3 10 .Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE). The Free Encyclopedia. J. New York.  Neuwirth.. Oct 5. 2nd ed. Retrieved 10:40.edu.bond. and Arganbright D. K.org/wiki/Logistic_growth  http://www. New York. Oct 5. ISBN 0879011831  Finite difference. P. The Free Encyclopedia. In Wikipedia. The Physics Teacher 43 (7). 2007. (1989). from http://en. Thompson/Brooks‐Cole Publishers.html  Harmonic oscillator. from http://en. USA. (2003). and Sujan S. The Physics Teacher 41 (3). (1982).org/wiki/Harmonic_oscillator  Tipler. 3 NUMERICAL MODELING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS AND BIOLOGY References  Free‐fall. The Free Encyclopedia. 2007.wikipedia. Bratislava. In Wikipedia. A. and Olsson M. Oct 5. Air resistance on falling balls and balloons. Classical mechanics: a modern perspective. from http://en. Worth Publishers. In Wikipedia.gov/ipc/www/idb/worldpopinfo. Veda. 3 . In Wikipedia. 178 − 180. 432 – 433.org/wiki/Finite_difference 298 http://epublications. Retrieved 10:40. In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Iss. and Stubna I.G. ISSN 0031‐921x. CA. Belmont. Retrieved 10:40.  Benacka. from http://en. from http://en. Slovakia. In Wikipedia.  Numerical ordinary differential equations.census. 2007. Oct 5. Retrieved 10:40. (2004). Oct 5. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:40. 2.
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