Using Excel in the Classroom

I taught computer in Christian school for about 8 years. I was responsible for teaching all grades. During that time I the standards being taught were changed greatly. The biggest change was on the Elementary level. Around 2000 our accrediting agency wanted elementary computer classes to focus on learning computer skills. This meant no games but rather teach them how to use applications like Microsoft Office. I could easily see teaching PowerPoint and Word. However, it was with much skepticism that I began teaching Excel especially in the lower grades. After, all it was difficult for many of my high school students to grasp. I selected some of the easier lessons from the material I had been given. Much to my surprise not only did the lessons work but the skill level of my students improved greatly. While I did not teach 5 year-olds the same skill set that I taught high school students both groups did learn age appropriate content. After three years of teaching computer skills, I really was amazed at the abilities of my second graders who had started the program in second grade. One thing I was never able to do however was truly integrate computer skills with other subjects. My spreadsheet of choice is Microsoft Excel. Microsoft has many templates available on-line that make great teaching tools. The teaching ideas are divided into primary (grades k-2), intermediate (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8) and high school grades (9-12).

PRIMARY GRADES

Candy Graph

Subject Tie-ins: Math, language, science writing, speech, health

Objectives:

The student will (TSW) sort, count, and record the number of each colored candy in a package.

  • TSW create a graph of the collected data using MS Excel.
  • TSW analyze trends and draw conclusions from the data (ie what is most and least common colors).
  • TSW prepare a short report of the findings research using MS Word and/or MS PowerPoint.
  • TSW practice proper safety procedures before handling food (ie wash hands).

Materials:

  • A package of M&Ms, Skittles or similar candies.
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Software: Excel, Word & PowerPoint
  • Vocab: data, research, graph

Procedure:

  1. Introduce vocab and concept of graphing.
  2. Create a simple data sheet using excel data sheet needs 2 columns: Color & number. List the colors.
  3. Sort candy by color . Next count and record data.
  4. Create graph from data.
  5. Analyze data: What trends do you see? Which color has the most and which the least?
  6. Extensions: Using either Word or excel present a brief report of data.

INTERMEDIATE GRADES

Multiplication Tables

Subject Tie-ins: Math

Objective: TSW create a multiplication table using Excel.

Material: Excel

Procedures:

  1. This exercise teaches the following Excel skills: Using fill feature and formatting.
  2. Row 1 will be the top header & column A will be the side header. Leave cell A1 empty. Start in cell A2 fill in 1 and A3 fill in 2. Select cells A2 & A3. Use the fill function to fill until the values reach 10, 11, 12 or whatever number you wish.
  3. Repeat procedure beginning in cell B2 for the side headings.
  4. Format the headings using bold, center or color if you wish.
  5. Next fill in the numbers. You will need to fill in the 1st two numbers for each column and then you can use the fill feature.

MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL

Political Opinion Poll

Subject Tie-ins: government, history, social studies, English, math (statistics)

Objectives:

  • TSW collect data from an opinion poll about a current political topics such as health care.
  • TSW analyze data.
  • TSW prepare a report of findings.

Materials:

  • Surveys
  • Pen and/or pencil
  • Software: Excel and Word

Procedures:

  1. Begin with a discussion or unit about a current political topics
  2. Prepare survey. Survey should include 3-5 questions. You may also want to include demographic info like age, gender and race. Suggested questions: Which candidate do you support? Why? If not voting asking why. In your opinion what are the most important issues facing our country? Provide a selection of 3-5 issues.
  3. Type and print several copies of the survey. It is a good idea to have at least 25 people in your sample group. Also, try find a cross section of participants that do not all share the same ideological views.
  4. After you have collected data the next step is to analyze data. Use Excel to create a data sheet to record your data. The data sheet will be used to create graphs.
  5. Finally using Word prepare a report of your finds.

Author: TheDeeZone

I write about things I find interesting this include music, movies, cooking, religion, news and whatever else pops in my ADHD brain. As a my tagline says: "The musings of an ADHD mind."I'm never really sure what is will catch my interest.

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