Spreadsheets Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Do you need a simple method for teaching students about spreadsheets? This lesson plan uses two video lessons designed around spreadsheets to enlighten and instruct while an activity has the class creating spreadsheets in Excel.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'spreadsheet'
  • identify potential uses for spreadsheets
  • utilize the formula bar in Excel to enter data in a spreadsheet


1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.


  • Several examples of spreadsheets
  • Computers equipped with Microsoft Excel
  • A quiz created using quiz 1 and quiz 2 from the associated lessons

Key Vocabulary

  • Spreadsheet


  • Pass the example spreadsheets around the classroom, giving each student a chance to view them.
  • Now ask the class what they are, allowing them to share their ideas through a brief class discussion.
  • Play the video lesson Common Uses for Excel Spreadsheets, pausing at 00:34.
  • Note write the word 'spreadsheet' on the board and place a question mark next to it.
  • Ask the class to consider instances where a spreadsheet would be useful. Write their ideas on the board.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson now.
  • Did the list of uses offered by the class include 'financial data,' 'database,' and 'charts and calculations?' If not, fill them in now and discuss each one briefly.
  • Pass the examples around the classroom again. Do any of these spreadsheets represent the types presented in the lesson?

Discussion Questions

  • How can we use spreadsheets to become more organized?
  • How many of us have experience creating spreadsheets?

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