
06439626
j
2015d.00951
Tay, Kim Gaik
Kek, Sie Long
AbdulKahar, Rosmila
A spreadsheet solution of a system of ordinary differential equations using the fourthorder RungeKutta method.
Spreadsheets Educ. 5, No. 2, 10 p., electronic only (2012).
2012
Bond University, Faculty of Business, Gold Coast, Queensland
EN
N45
I75
M55
U75
systems of ordinary differential equations
spreadsheets
fourthorder RungeKutta methods
numerical examples
electrodynamics
teaching
computer as educational medium
calculators
http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie/vol5/iss2/5/
Summary: Solving systems of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) by using the fourthorder RungeKutta (RK4) method in classroom or in examinations is quite tedious, tiring and boring since it involves many iterative calculations. Hence, there is a need to design a suitable tool in teaching and learning the numerical methods involved, especially those for solving systems of ODEs. Here, we present a new approach to solving systems of ODEs by the RK4 method through the use of an Excel spreadsheet to tackle these drawbacks. In doing so, we employ the concept of relative row, relative column and fixed column in the spreadsheet to obtain the solution of systems of ODEs by the RK4 method. With the appropriate differential function given by the user, it is found that the way suggested here is faster than applying a scientific calculator and the solution obtained is significantly more accurate. Besides, the concept presented here can be extended to solve systems of ODEs up to $n$ equations using the spreadsheet. In addition to this, the students can gain a deep understanding of the iterative procedure involved in solving the systems of ODEs. Although the spreadsheet approach is not as good as other mathematical software, it does provide a stepbystep environment for teaching and learning the numerical methods. We conclude that the spreadsheet approach increases the interest of students in learning the RK4 method.