ALEX Lesson Plan


Introduction to Spreadsheets

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Laura Roberts
System: Shelby County
School: Calera Middle
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 4253


Introduction to Spreadsheets


Students will utilize Excel or other spreadsheet software to create both text and numerical valued columns to produce a Christmas or birthday wish list.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (6-8)
5. Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
Examples: word processing—reports, letters, brochures
spreadsheets—discovering patterns, tracking spending, creating budgets
databases—contact list of addresses and telephone numbers
presentation software—slideshow
TC2 (6-8)
6. Select specific digital tools for completing curriculum-related tasks.
Examples: spreadsheet for budgets, word processing software for essays, probes for data collection
TC2 (6-8)
11. Use digital tools and strategies to locate, collect, organize, evaluate, and synthesize information.
Examples: locating—Boolean searches, graphic organizers, spreadsheets, databases
collecting—probeware, graphing calculators
organizing—graphic organizers, spreadsheets
evaluating—reviewing publication dates, determining credibility
synthesizing—word processing software, concept-mapping software
MA2015 (5)
12. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions to estimate mentally, and assess the reasonableness of answers. [5-NF2]
Example: Recognize an incorrect result 2/5 + 1/2 = 3/7 by observing that 3/7 < 1/2.
MA2015 (5)
16. Solve real-world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. [5-NF6]
MA2015 (5)
17. Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions. (Students able to multiply fractions in general can develop strategies to divide fractions in general by reasoning about the relationship between multiplication and division. However, division of a fraction by a fraction is not a requirement at this grade.) [5-NF7]
a. Interpret division of a unit fraction by a nonzero whole number, and compute such quotients. [5-NF7a]
Example: Create a story context for (1/3) ÷ 4, and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (1/3) ÷ 4 = 1/12 because (1/12) x 4 = 1/3.
b. Interpret division of a whole number by a unit fraction, and compute such quotients. [5-NF7b]
Example: Create a story context for 4 ÷ (1/5), and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that 4 ÷ (1/5) = 20 because 20 x (1/5) = 4.
c. Solve real-world problems involving division of unit fractions by nonzero whole numbers and division of whole numbers by unit fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. [5-NF7c]
Examples: How much chocolate will each person get if 3 people share 1/2 lb of chocolate equally' How many 1/3 -cup servings are in 2 cups of raisins'

Local/National Standards:

[Local Standards]6th Grade Business Explorations - Produce a spreadsheet utilizing cell characteristics, row height and column width, borders and shading and page layout; 7th Grade Business Explorations - #10 - Produce a spreadsheet utilizing cell characteristics, row height and column width, borders and shading, page layout, and addition.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will understand a simple spreadsheet and its use. Students will be able to create a simple spreadsheet using Autosum for addition.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will learn the difference between text and numerical values for column use.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Catalogues or newpaper advertisements with prices of various items

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer, Excel or other spreadsheet software, printer, paper, overhead projector. Laser printer desirable, but not required.


Teacher (presenter) should go through the activity before teaching to review the basics of Excel. Make sure students are able to relate various uses for spreadsheets, such as accounting and cost tracking.

1.)Discuss the use of spreadsheets in programs such as Excel.

2.)Open Excel and discuss the cell characteristics and form of information entry.

3.)Merge the first row of 7 cells across for a title bar explaining the differences between rows and columns. (Highlight the cells, then choose "Cells" from the Format menu and click on the "Alignmemt" tab to place a check in the "Merge Cells" box.)

4.)Students then name the list using their own names and "Wish List." Explain how to select font style and how to bold and center the title.

5.)In the second row of the spreadsheet enter the sub-title headings such as Item, Estimated Cost, Actual Cost, Rating (Priority), Most Important. (Explain how to widen columns, if needed.)

6.)Below the sub-heading highlight the next 8 cells in Column 1 and format the cells for text. ("Number" tab on the Format/Cells menu.) This will allow students to list the items they have selected.

7.)Have students enter items they would like to include on their "wish" lists. Students only need 1 or 2 items to begin. Suggest new shoes or clothing items to stimulate thought. Unfamiliar items can be used to teach vocabulary words. For example, picture mats were an item unfamiliar to my students.

8.)Highlight the same number of cells in Column 2 and format the cells as numerical/currency.

9.)Enter estimated cost of selected items. This will also produce discussion possibilities.

10.)Format Column 3 for currency and use the catalogues or advertisements for actual prices. This column can be provided for student use as a follow-up activity to save time in completing the spreadsheet.

11.)In Column 4 the student will rate the items on a scale of 1-8 with #1 representing the most important item. This may also be the most expensive item.

12.)Column 5 is used to mark the item that the student wants the most in the event that another item is too expensive. Asterisks may be used to note the one "most wanted" item.

13.)Column 6 and 7 can be used later. Students may be shown how to insert rows and columns at any time during the activity.

14.)Use Autosum to get a total for Columns 2 (estimated cost) and 3 (actual cost).(Click in Cell B15, then click the Autosum symbol in the tool bar. Do the same in Cell C15.)

15.)Demonstrate how to set the print area. (Highlight the area to print and from the file menu select "print area," then "set print area.") Students may go to "page setup" and choose "landscape" then adjust the margins to center the spreadsheet on the paper.

16.)Have the student save his file as Christmas or Birthday Wish List for later use.

17.)Show the students how to print the spreadsheets to share with their parents.

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Assessment Strategies

Completion of the chart without "actual prices" is full credit. Following the process from beginning to printing is the desired product at this stage.


Students may add actual prices for items, clip art, borders, or shading.


Teacher may partner a stronger student with a student who may need extra assistance or seat the student nearer the teacher or with a direct view of the area where the overhead will be displayed.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.