Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Excel as a Classroom Tool

Microsoft Excel is a very powerful program that can be used in many different types of work. One of the places where its features can be best exploited are in the classroom. There are a number of ways that the functions of the Excel program can effectively used in an educational setting.

Here are some example lessons that integrate Excel into a social studies curriculum in a secondary school classroom:

  1. When learning about the electoral process, students could conduct opinion polls by surveying classmates and other people outside of school. Once this is completed the students can enter the information that they gather into a table using Excel. Once their table is complete, they can using the graphing tools on the program to make a pie chart that compares people's opinions on issues that are significant to the upcoming election. (NETS-S Standard: 3b - Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media)
  2. When learning about bubonic plague, the teacher could provide students with annual population totals for a specific area that was effected by the plague. The students could enter this information into a table in Excel. Then, using the graphing tools, the students can create a line graph that traces the population of the given country through the duration of the plague. (NETS-S Standard:  3d - Process data and report results)
  3. When learning about the Holocaust, students could use the filtering tools on Excel to sort through Holocaust records that the teacher would provide. The students would be provided with a pre-made spreadsheet containing the records and could use the tools to help them locate specific people or specific camps. They could fill out a worksheet asking them to find specific things within the records. (NETS-S Standard: 3d - Process data and report results)    
  4. When learning about World War II, students could make a bar graph for the total causalities that each country suffered. The students would be provided with the death tolls for each country and put the figures into a table. They would then use the graphing feature to create a bar graph that compares the casualty totals that each country suffered. (NETS-S Standards:  3d - Process data and report results) 
  5. When teaching economics, students could create spreadsheets that track the profits of a company. They could break the chart down  by month. They could enter gross income in one column of the table and expenses in the next one. After this, they would enter a formula in the next column, making the number in the cells equal to the gross income for that month minus the expenses for the month. The students could then create a line graph to chart the profits. (NETS-S Standards: 3d - Process data and report results)

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