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Using Excel to Teach Standards. Presented by Ann Heironimus , M.Ed., NBCTE School Technology Leader G. F. Russell Career Center. In this session we will discuss:. Spreadsheet Basics Likes and Differences of spreadsheet math and mathematics Basic Math Calculations in Excel

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Using excel to teach standards

Using Excel to Teach Standards

Presented by

Ann Heironimus, M.Ed., NBCTE

School Technology Leader

G. F. Russell Career Center

In this session we will discuss
In this session we will discuss:

  • Spreadsheet Basics

  • Likes and Differences of spreadsheet math and mathematics

  • Basic Math Calculations in Excel

  • Order of Operations

  • Percentages

  • Cell References

  • Formulas and Functions

  • Absolute and Relative

  • Solving problems with Excel

  • Giving students a real world visual—charts

  • Interesting Excel Projects and Ideas

  • Summary and conclusion

Spreadsheet basics
Spreadsheet Basics

Spreadsheets may appear to be very complicated and difficult to work with, but actually they can be a great tool to calculate complex calculations as well as repetitive ones and projects that contain large amounts of data.

Using applications such as Microsoft Excel in math classes gives the student a new perspective on how to complete problems and correlate the value of what they are learning to real-world situations by introducing software that is used worldwide in many different types of settings.

Another positive aspect of using Excel in the math class is that it allows students to use technology/computers to complete problems that would ordinarily be completed using a calculator, pencil and paper.

Excel is very easy to get started with; there are gives the student a new perspective on how to complete problems and correlate the value of what they are learning to real-world situations by introducing software that is used worldwide in many different types of settings. only a few basics you need to know when working with entering data in a spreadsheet.

  • Spreadsheets consists of rows and columns. Columns are lettered

  • beginning with the letter A. Rows are numbered starting with the

  • number 1.

  • The intersection of a row and column is known as a cell.

  • Cells are labeled by taking the column letter and the row number

  • and combining to refer to a specific location on the spreadsheet.

  • Example: B4 is the cell where Column B and Row 4 intersect.

  • Spreadsheets contain only text, values and formulas.

  • Types of information found in cells: gives the student a new perspective on how to complete problems and correlate the value of what they are learning to real-world situations by introducing software that is used worldwide in many different types of settings.

  • Text—Any non-numeric character (letters, symbols and

  • sometimes numbers like social security numbers, grades, ID

  • numbers)

  • Values—numbers (This does not include commas, hyphens,

  • parenthesis)

  • Formulas—mathematics

  • Functions—formulas coded into Excel that make the math

  • simpler to calculate. (SUM, MAX, MEAN, AVERAGE)

  • Another interesting fact about spreadsheets is the copy feature. Information in cells can be copied to other locations using either relative means or absolute methods. Relative copying is the default method of copying and in this method cell references are updated to the current location. For example if you have data in C2 and copy it to C3 the formula will automatically adjust itself to C3. This feature works on formulas, text and values.

To copy using the relative method, simply place the cursor (+) on the bottom right edge of the cell and drag if the cells are adjacent to one another. The data is updated immediately as soon as you start to drag.

Sometimes you may not want a cell to be updated when copying it to another location or in a formula. In this case, you will want to use the absolute method of copying data. In this method, the data is copied exactly as it is in the original location. An example of a formula using an absolute copy reference is one where you are calculating a percent of a total, where you want the total to remain the same. To indicate you want a cell or row or column to be absolute, simply place a $ in front of the letter if you want the column to stay the same or in front of the number if you want the row to stay the same. You can place one in front of each if you wish the entire cell data to remain the same.

Examples: $A2 – Column will remain A but rows will change.

B$5 – Column changes but row remains the same.

$C$3 – Data will stay the same as it is in C3 wherever it is


Calculations in Excel are completed much like those done in a math class.

Order of Operations is the same---PEMDAS

Symbols for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are: +, -, * and /.

Equal sign (=) is entered first to identify to Excel that you are entering a mathematical formula or function. If the = is not the first item in the cell, the formula will be treated as a number and no calculation performed.

Once a formula has been entered the result of the calculation will be shown in the cell in which it was entered.

Examples of simple formulas:

=A1 + B1


=4*(A2+A5) + 3

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s look at ways to incorporate spreadsheets into math classes to assist in addressing the standards.

The following are standards that can be addressed using spreadsheets:

Circumference and Area of a Circle


Surface Area


Circle Graphs and Box Plots

Scatterplots and Line Charts

There are many mathematical functions that are built-in to Excel. For a complete list, you can access them at the following link from Microsoft.

Basically, any mathematics can be calculated using a spreadsheet as long as you have the formula and enter it using correct format.

Excel’s charts and graphs features are a great way to address standards and make for a fun way to engage your students!

Here are some types of graphs you can create using Excel:

Column and bar charts—to compare data

Line charts—to illustrate change over time

Pie charts—to illustrate parts of a whole.

Area charts—trends over time, can be 2D or 3D

Scatter plots -- relationships among the numeric values in several data series, or plots two groups of numbers as one series of xy coordinates.

For a complete list of types of charts available in Excel, you can access this information at:

Using Excel for Classroom Activities address standards and make for a fun way to engage your students!An Internet Hotlist on Excel

(Apologies in advance for any repeated links. Also, remember that the Internet

changes minute-by-minute, so what’s here right now may be gone before I finish typing. If a link no longer works, try pasting it into a Google search to see if the link has just changed or better yet remove and then restore its hyperlink status.)

Center for Technology and Teacher Education - Microsoft Excel Interactive Projects

Classrooms That Excel Resources - Guides, Tutorials, Applications and Lesson Plans

Integrating Spreadsheets in the Classroom - Tutorials, Assessment, Charting & Graphing, Real-time data, Lesson Plans and WebQuests

Internet4Classrooms - Excel learning modules on a variety of topics; other Excel links

Internet4classrooms - How to use Excel - Non-math uses of Excel

Lee's Summit Schools - Lesson plan ideas

Microsoft - Lesson plans – search by grade, subject area, etc

Microsoft Excel templates - Save some time - use templates designed by Microsoft - there is a section just for education

NC Public Schools - Computer/Technology Skills Standard Course of Study

TechKnowPark - Spreadsheet resources from NCDPI

Internet 4 Classroom Tutorials - Excel can be taught through these tutorials.

Introduction to Excel in the Classroom - Activities and Resources for using Excel with pupils.

Teach-nology's Tutorial for Excel - A look at the pros and cons of using Microsoft Excel as an application with your students.

Tranforming Teaching Through Technology - Here are a few really great sites on using Excel in the classroom including templates for posters and calendars.

Excel Spelling Activity - Interactive Spelling helps develop literarcy among the students.

Integrating Spreadsheets in the Classroom - Get students to see data represented in graphs often.

Microsoft Excel Lesson Plan Suggestions address standards and make for a fun way to engage your students! - This is a collection of lesson published by Microsoft.

Spreadsheets Activities - Sue LeBeau created a large collection of ideas and resources that have been placed on this website.

Spreadsheets in the Classroom Using Excel - Easy Quick Tips to follow to learn how to use Excel with students. Using Trackstar to Find Lessons - By using this link you can find many lessons written for all age students using spreadsheets.

Almost Everything You Need for Using Spreadsheets in the Classroom - Interesting Links for using excel in the classroom.

Classroom Resources for Spreadsheets - How to use spreadsheets is explored through these many links.

Excel Lessons found in Trackstar - Here is a list of Trackstar lesson plans teaching students about Excel and spreadsheets.

Excel Technology Integration - Both teachers and students can use this software to create useful and informative databases, graphs, and charts.

Developers Guide to address standards and make for a fun way to engage your students!Excelets - Mathematical samples of interactive Excel are linked to this page.

Interactive Excel - Downloadable examples of interactive Excel can be found on this page.

Spreadsheet Vocabulary - Use to help students understand terminology

Spreadsheet Basics - This online tutorial helps understand and visualize the vocabulary associated with spreadsheets while you have an Excel file open.

A Viewlet for Learning Excel Basics - This site runs a program to view how to set up a spreadsheet which analyzes temperatures.

Online Training with Excel - This site has the basics of Excel broken down into sections with Quicktime video used to explain each section. Great for the audio and visual learner.

An Overview of Excel Basics - Gives an overview of the most basic features of Excel.

PowerPoint Presentation on Spreadsheet Basics - Use this to help students understand spreadsheets or introduce the topic before an activity.

Spreadsheet Crossword Puzzle - An interactive site for students to test their understanding of spreadsheets.

Go Shopping to Understand How Things Add Up - This is a fun online activity than can be used to introduce spreadsheets into your classroom while at the same time teaching how to use formulas to calculate. After going through the activity, you can have students go home, inventory their current toys, estimate value, and create a spreadsheet to show the net worth.

Analyzing Time Management Choices address standards and make for a fun way to engage your students! - This website can be used with students to analyze how students choose to spend their time. As an activity, you could have students spend a week recording the choices they make and graph them as a class.

Crazy Questions and Incriminating Spreadsheet Data - Students will love creating their spreadsheet data based on the crazy questions they will ask to get it. You could involve several different student projects with this site, come up with different results, and talk about other possibilities. Get ready for student excitement with this one.

Create A Graph Website - This site is great to use for an introduction into graphing. It is web-based and you can print or save the information to a disk. Great for using at home if students do not have Excel.

A Day in the Life of a Meteorologist - Based on the weather maps and data students collect over a period of two weeks, they create a PowerPoint

Bar Graph Analysis and Creation - Check this site out to help students learn to 'picture' the data and interpret its results.

Spreadsheet Terms - Interactive webpage reviewing spreadsheet terms

Retrieve, Edit, Print Spreadsheet Quiz - Interactive webpage reviewing how to Retrieve/Edit/Print Spreadsheets

Advantages and Uses of Spreadsheets - An interactive site using questions related to spreadsheet uses.

Charting Using Spreadsheets - An interactive site to analyze your charting capabilities.

Fast Food Fun - This site is a great way to get students to realize nutrition facts by using spreadsheet calculations for analyzing fat calories and their eating habits.

An Excel Data Gathering Field Trip -- In the Parking Lot - Using the cars parked in your school's parking lot you can get students involved in data collection and reporting.

For further information, address standards and make for a fun way to engage your students!

email me at:

[email protected]