9th Graders Using Excel Makes Me Happy

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First, a few flip class reflections:

Keeping up with the videos is hard!  Sometimes I’m pressed for time and the video isn’t as great as I would like it to be.  Other times they kick ass, though.  I think it’ll take a few years, but eventually I’ll have a good collection and won’t have to make many new ones.

Videos don’t have to be lectures!  Check me out y’all.  I told the kids to work out these problems and only use the videos if they needed help getting started or to check their answers.  I think part of making this work is the fact that they know they’ll be responsible for the work during class.  It’s never just about the answer.  They have to present their work to the class (or small groups) pretty much every single day.

Now, about these 9th graders using excel:

The assignment was simple.  I gave each group a different problem that could be solved using a system of equations.  They solve the problem, then whiteboard it (the solution and how they found it).  The results were awesome!  Some groups graphed the equations, some groups used substitution, and some groups used elimination.  If any of them were wondering why we need to learn different ways to solve these problems…

But something interesting happened when several groups used tables to solve their problems.  Here’s what they looked like:

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So, even though it wasn’t in my lesson plan for the day, I decided to show them how to generate a list like theirs using excel.  I’ve been itchin to teach some excel and this was a perfect opportunity.  We generated two lists for the cost of different cell phone plans based on the number of minutes used.  Here’s what it looked like:

Anyone have any good lessons using excel in Algebra?

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3 thoughts on “9th Graders Using Excel Makes Me Happy

  1. I’m teaching excel to my 9th graders. I don’t know if it’s any good (since you specified that you wanted good lessons), but you can check out my teaching website at jlouisewilson.home.comcast.net My projects are pretty much geared to my school, though.

  2. I especially like the table method because you are introducing students to the basics of computational thinking. The computer does all the calculation and the students focus on identifying the pattern and interpreting what it tells them. This is a lot more intuitive to students than the abstractions of equations and graphs, and seems to have a much lower bar for participation. Nice job!

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