#### Paper A036

 This is an electronic reprint, reproduced by permission of Pearson Education Inc. Originally appeared in the Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, ISBN 013480029X, Copyright (C) 2017 by Pearson Education, Inc.

# Multivariable Spreadsheet Modeling and Scientific Thinking via Stacking Bricks

### Scott A. Sinex

Prince George's Community College

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## ABSTRACT

Students measure the height of a variety of stacks of bricks and construct a mathematical model via a spreadsheet using linear regression. They predict the height of a 100 bricks. Then they go outside and measure brick heights in a real brick wall. Students quickly discover that mortar in between the brick is going to modify their model. They take measurements of bricks plus mortar and produce a second or revised model. Students compare models, consider random and systematic errors using a prebuilt spreadsheet simulation, and then develop a model to count the number of bricks in a specified area of a wall (and can verify). From multiple measurements of bricks and mortar joints in a brick wall, students can get a feel for real variation. In the end, a multivariable model is developed and explored as an interactive spreadsheet simulation. A version using Lego bricks and plates (mortar) is also considered.

Keyword(s): applications, modeling, spreadsheets