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Abstract

Thirty-eight papers published in the Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE) from 1989 through 2003 explicitly use or recommend the use of spreadsheets as part of classroom or field exercises, projects, or entire courses. Many of the papers include the spreadsheets, and some include the equations. The papers demonstrate how spreadsheets allow students to explore a subject through problem-oriented, interactive, and quantitative exercises. We provide an annotated bibliography and classify the 38 JGE papers by spreadsheet use, mathematics skill area, and geologic subdiscipline. Our discussion of five selected articles — abundance of elements in the Earth’s crust; directional properties of inclined strata; U-shaped valleys scoured by mountain glaciers; the Laplace Equation for groundwater flow; the location of our solar system within the Milky Way galaxy — demonstrates the huge breadth of topics in the earth science curriculum. The 38 papers collectively, and the five examples individually, make the point that spreadsheets developed for geoscience education can provide context for principles taught in courses of other disciplines, including mathematics. Our classification by mathematics skill area follows the content standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (USA) and may prove useful for educators seeking problems for skills-based assessment.

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