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Work With Numerical Data In A Spreadsheet (Mathematical Modeling)


How do I use a spreadsheet to manipulate, analyze, and represent numerical data?

Develop a clear enough understanding of a spreadsheet program to enter data, perform basic calculations using functions, sort data, and create pictorial representations to export into another document.

Time To Complete 

1-3 Hours

Content Areas 

  • Math

Common Core Standards 

  • CCSS.MP.5
  • CCSS.MP.6
  • CCSS.MP.2

I Can Statements 

I can:

  • Use a spreadsheet program to enter data, perform basic calculations using functions, sort data, and create graphics

I will know if my work with numerical data is of high quality if it:

  • Is accurate
  • Makes the data easier to understand or reveals something not obvious in the raw data

Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:

  • Confer with the students, asking them to demonstrate their skills with the spreadsheet program.
  • Ask students to self-evaluate their work after completing one of the activities below. 
Possible Activities 
  1. Conduct a mini-lesson on various spreadsheet functions such as sort, averages, sum, or making a graphic.  Using a graphic organizer, for each function of the spreadsheet, have students brainstorm possible real life uses or uses related to their research.

  2. Use the mathematical functions within the spreadsheet to calculate the answers to math problems from students’ math textbooks. Teachers can create handouts that show the mathematical functions available on the spreadsheet and their equivalents on the keyboard, i.e., "+" for addition, "-" for subtraction, "/" for division and "*" for multiplication. To add two numbers together, put the first number in cell A1 and the second number in cell B1. Use the formula "=A1+B1" to arrive at the sum. Use the same procedure for each of the four basic mathematical formulas, i.e. "=A1-B1," "=A1*B1," and "=A1/B1." 

  3. Demonstrate the basic editing functions in the program, asking students to explore the ways in which they allow users to manipulate text. Students should practice cutting, copying, pasting text and numbers and discover the different ways in which a spreadsheet program responds to those commands. For example, demonstrate the difference between replacing the contents of a cell with cut and paste rather than using cut and past to add text to existing text. 

  4. Demonstrate the basic formatting functions in the program, paying special attention to the ways in which spreadsheet programs work differently from word processing programs. For example, students can explore the ways that cells containing numbers can be formatted (currency, dates, etc.) and how that formatting affects the output of operations and functions applied to those cells.

  5. Teach how spreadsheets integrate with other programs by having students click the "Insert" menu and choose an object to insert. Students can insert a picture from a thumb drive, the computer's hard drive, or the school's network.

  6. Review some of the common error messages students are likely to encounter while working with a spreadsheet and how to work backward to find the mistake that generated the error. This article provides help for identifying and resolving errors in Excel: https://goo.gl/J9rHFl

  7. Model for students using conditional formatting, filters, and other advanced features of the spreadsheet to manage larger amounts of data. 

  8. Use one of the many videos, tutorials, and lessons provided below to ensure students are fluent in using a spreadsheet to manipulate numerical data.​


Downloadable Resources 
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