The logistic growth difference equation is often used in biology to model population growth. The terms that satisfy the difference equation have many remarkable mathematical properties such as exhibiting chaotic behavior. Using spreadsheet modeling tools, the properties of logistic growth can be investigated by students in a user friendly environment. Students will learn about useful computational and modeling tools, while also learning about a new area of mathematics that has fascinated many (e.g. James Gleick’s Chaos: Making a New Science is a national best seller). Moreover, the model has many real world applications in biology. Unfortunately, many mathematics and computer science students do not see the logistic growth model because it does not appear in the standard set of required courses. In this paper we describe a how to implement the logistic growth model, and describe related applications and student exercises.

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logistic.xlsx (86 kB)