Below are some reflections on my review of Excel, the lessons I developed, and my experiences using them with my students. Copies of the lessons are included as links to PDF files. In all of the lessons the students enjoyed modifying the colors, fonts, and background images to personalize their work with their own style.
Introduction to Excel
The first file is “Introduction to Excel” that contains an outline of key features to review with the students, basics for creating a useful data table, an activity, a couple of follow up lessons, and a further assignment. This lesson worked well with the students. We went through the beginning and they had a very fun time with the “Shopping Spree” activity. They were timed for 17 minutes and were deeply engrossed in the activity and very much enjoyed the competition. The winner got their total to exactly $1000.00!
Ice Cream Survey and Pie Chart
After introducing Excel, the students wanted to learn about creating graphs. Rather than continuing with the data from the Shopping Spree, the students wanted to learn about making pie charts. We did an impromptu lesson using a survey to show percentage calculations and pie charts. We quickly surveyed favorite ice cream flavors and put together a pie chart. A copy of the chart we created is included in the following lessons. I didn’t make specific directions for this lesson since we did it on the spot. The students found this activity interesting and in the next class, the students conducted their own surveys, put the data together, and made a pie chart.
Using Excel to Graph a Function
The third lesson we did was “Using Excel to Graph a Function.” I wrote this lesson more step-by-step so the students could follow the directions on their own with less guidance from the teacher. They were able to go through the steps and create graphs. This offered a nice comparison to Mathematica in how to illustrate the behavior of functions and make changes as needed.