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Tasty Tech Activity
With Excel


  • Educational Technology
  • Mathematics
    --Process Skills


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

This lesson plan helps classroom teachers introduce basic Excel skills to students in elementary and middle school. Students rank their opinions of menu items from fast food restaurants, add their answers to the spreadsheet, and then create a simple graph of the results. This lesson takes 1-2 sessions, approximately 30-45 minutes each.


Students will

  • input data into spreadsheet cells.
  • understand basic spreadsheet terminology such as: cell, column, row.


spreadsheet, data collection, data analysis, survey, fat food

Materials Needed


  • computer access
  • Tasty Tech Activity template (provided), or have students make their own.
  • Microsoft Excel (Note: With a few modifications, AppleWorks, Quattro, or other software programs also can be used.)

Lesson Plan

Do your students need basic spreadsheet skills, but you aren't an expert with Excel? Never fear! This lesson plans breaks down the basic skills of inputting data and adding graphs so even users with the most basic skills can quickly gain confidence and competence with Excel. The lesson is best taught as a whole class in a lab, cart, or one-to-one setting, but can be modified for a classroom center of one to four computers.

Begin by explaining to students that they will learn how to create colorful graphs by adding data to a computer program called Excel. Have each student watch you as you open the TastyTech template. Demonstrate to students the following three steps:

  1. Click cell A2, where the words "Teacher's Name" are and type your name instead. Explain that the box around your name is called a cell, and that the cell you used is called A2 because it's in column A, row 2.
  2. Ask students to name three of their favorite fast food items, such as a burger, milkshake, chicken nuggets, and so on from a specific restaurant. Highlight the words "Fast Food Item #1," "Fast Food Item #2," and "Fast Food Item #3." Type instead the names of the foods they choose.
  3. Explain to students that you are going to rate the food 3, 2, or 1. A "3" means they love it; "2" means it's okay; and "1" means it's yukky! Demonstrate by putting scores in cells B2, C2, and D2 for each of the food items. (You should have a 3, 2, or 1 in each of those cells.)

Have students open the TastyTech template on their own computers (Be sure to put the file on students' computers beforehand, or show them how to access it on the school's network if that's an option). Call on each student individually, and have students call out their evaluations (3, 2, or 1) for each food. The rest of the class then types each student's name and score for each food on their own worksheets. Walk around to make sure students are putting the information in the correct cells and that no student is behind.

When the spreadsheets are complete, have students save and print their work. Next, walk students through the four easy steps of creating a graph of their work. Have them click Insert > Chart at the top of the screen and then

  1. For Step One: Make sure "Column" is selected under Chart type, and then click Next.
  2. For Step Two: Click Next.
  3. For Step Three:
    • Under Chart Title, type "Student Name Fast Food Chart" (Replace Student Name with real students' names.)
    • Under category (X) axis, type "Names."
    • Under Value (Y) axis, type "Our Evaluations."
    • Click Next.
  4. For Step Four: Click "As New Sheet" and then click Finish.

Each student now should see a graph of the fast food survey results. Students can print the graphs for class work credit.


Students will be assessed on

  • The data input into the spreadsheet cells.
  • Their ability to follow directions based upon classroom observation and printed work.
  • The accuracy of the printed graph.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lorrie Jackson

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems

MATHEMATICS: Measurement
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement

MATHEMATICS: Representation
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas

NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
NT.K-12.3 Technology