Using Spreadsheets to Explore Real-World Data

Technology can help promote students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, quantitative reasoning, and achievement when used as a tool for solving problems, testing conjectures, accessing data, and verifying solutions.

California mathematics standards: ... The goal in mathematics education is for students to be able to:
• Communicate precisely about quantities, logical relationships, and unknown values through the use of signs, symbols, models, graphs, and mathematical terms.
• Reason mathematically by gathering data, analyzing evidence, and building arguments to support or refute hypotheses.
• Make connections among mathematical ideas and between mathematics and other disciplines

Why Spreadsheets?
Spreadsheets are valuable tools for compiling data, organizing and recording simple statistics, and providing a visual representation of data through graphing. Many teachers are integrating spreadsheets into their classroom lessons allowing students to play a more active role in their learning. Students can change variables and instantly see results of data analysis and calculations.

Examples of lessons:
* Planning a budget
* Recipe calculations/reductions
* Conversion tables
* Calculations of age and weight on different planets
* Planning a trip and calculating the distance
* Charting growth rate
* Tracking votes on election days
* Compare temperatures in different cities

Students can be successful using spreadsheets with just a few basic skills:

There are many quality websites providing tutorials on the use of spreadsheets AND ready-to-use samples for downloading.

Harvest Your Own Data:


Other Resources:

Using Spreadsheets to Explore Real-World Data
Charlene Chausis, Adlai E. Stevenson High School (retired 2012)