Spreadsheets & Mathematics ... in Grade 2? - Digital Literacy Dover

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Spreadsheets & Mathematics ... in Grade 2?


Spreadsheets are the runt of the proverbial litter when it comes to the building of core digital competencies, or digital literacy. I guess it is assumed by many that somehow spreadsheets are too complex for primary school? Irrelevant? But I can assure you that this misconception is more about teacher perception based on inexperience, rather than reality.

The reality is that spreadsheets are arguably one of the most powerful digital tools in use in the world today, have been for some time and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Ask many parents which digital tools they are most reliant on in their world of paid work, and you're more likely to hear that it's a spreadsheet than a video editor, or word processor et cetera. 

This lesson used Google Sheets on iPads, to speed things up I prepared the sheet by changing the cells from rectangles in squares, and then used Hapara Teacher Dashboard to place a copy into each of the student's Maths folders in their respective Google Drives. The lesson was built around our benchmarks for Maths in this unit and proceeded as follows:

  1. Open up your Google Drive, open your Maths folder, open the Sheet you see there...
  2. Create some arrays and label then using the relevant multiplication using * instead of x (it's a computer thing) 
  3. Practise cell references (randomly click a cell, have the class yell out the ref, ie F9)
  4. Show the class how to use write a formula to multiply 2 cells, eg =G17*H17
  5. Copy and paste the formula down the sheet; copy, select the cells, paste
  6. Explore commutative properties (the green section in the image above) 
  7. Now use the same formula to create a times table grid (blue above)
  8. Try another time table! 

For tips on the basics of using spreadsheets in primary school, see this post

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