Teach your high school students to use Microsoft Excel through engaging and creative projects. Whether you teach a class in computers and information technology or in another discipline altogether, you can integrate practice with Excel into a range of relevant topics.
Encourage your high school students to improve their understanding of Excel software by giving them an activity based on business consultancy. To complete the activity, each of your students must pretend to be a consultant for a furniture company with several lines of furnishings. Using Excel, students must catalog and track the performance of various furniture lines and evaluate their relative profitability. Ultimately, students must use the data to make a recommendation to the business on how to improve financially. Students may also use Excel to design payment plans for the furniture company to use, as an alternative financing option for its customers. In addition, they may compare personnel performance on Excel.
Show your students how to use Excel to create informative and well-organized time lines. You can adapt the project to a language arts class, creating a time line of production from a single author or a group of affiliated writers. For a science class, you can use the time line to chart evolutionary trends or geological changes. For history students, a time line project lends itself to a myriad of possibilities. Show students how to orient the text at an angle, through the "Format Text" window and the "Orient Text" tab, to fit it onto the time line.
Teach your students about personal finance as you teach them how to use Excel. Using the software to create spreadsheets, have students create either a personal budget for themselves or a fictitious budget for themselves plus a family of dependents. If you're hoping to create a more realistic and immediately useful lesson on personal finance, it may be most beneficial to create budgets that reflect students' actual finances. If you'd prefer to make the budgets more complex and to offer some privacy regarding your students' actual finances, a fictional scenario may work better.
Buying a Dream Car
Have students use Excel spreadsheets to compare the prices of their various dream cars. If any students would prefer to substitute a house, boat or other large purchase for a dream car, just ensure that they choose an item they can find plenty of examples of, at various prices. Have the students create a spreadsheet with the cost of their various options. If your students have studied compounding interest rates, you can have them determine a few payment plans and compare them, based on each of their options. Have them add that information into the spreadsheet, as well. Have your students compare their options based on the data they have organized within Excel.
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