Using the Computer to Enhance Your Classroom
- What equipment is needed? Does your school have it? Are you comfortable using it? Do you have a resource person in the building willing to train you before you use it for the first time?
- The students need access to a computer with both the Internet and Microsoft Excel (or a similar spreadsheet.) The teacher needs to have an understanding of how to navigate to a specific URL and the basics of spreadsheet and graph creation.
- Should this computer activity be a small group or large group activity?
- This should start as a large group introduction, but then it is an individual or small group activity.
- How do you structure a class if you decide on a small group activity?
- Each student needs to use the computer for 10 minutes per week to collect their individual data and enter the data into their spreadsheet. This should be accomplished with a schedule. The data manipulation would best be done in a lab situation to allow extended time for work by the students.
- How do you structure the activity if you decide to do it with a large group?
- The introduction is done via a large screen projection device, and demonstrated by he teacher.
- What classroom management issues need to be considered?
- The ability to get to the computer once per week; the help some students may need to navigate to the URL; perhaps consider the use of student mentors to assist in data collection and entry,
- How does the software strengthen critical thinking skills in the lesson?
- The critical thinking skills are addressed at the culmination of the lesson as students choose the type of graph which best represents the data they are trying to demonstrate.
- How does the software match your students' ability levels and learning styles?
- This tool software has been used by students since fourth grade, and is very familiar to all of them. The structured directions both on paper and by the teacher should allow students of all learning styles to master the task at hand.
- What previous training do the students need in thinking skills and collaborative learning?
- If students are to compile their data, they need to have the personal communication skills to work with others and share the chore of compiling a large storehouse of data.
- How can computer software goals be customized to explore concepts not originally mentioned in the teacher's guide?
- Not applicable.
- Where does the computer software activity belong in the curriculum? In a specific unit? As an interdisciplinary activity?
- This activity belongs in a mathematics unit on averages and/or graphing.
- Is the content of the software sufficient to satisfy stated curriculum requirements? Does it have to be?
- Not applicable.
- How can the software program effect student motivation and affective development, such as values, etc.?
- Not applicable.
- Does the activity need to be a multimedia presentation or could it be only a computer-based program?
- The activity is not intended to be a multimedia presentation.
- How will students be evaluated?
- Students will be evaluated using a rubric supplied to them.
- Does the district have a software preview and evaluation system?
- Yes, although Excel is on every computer in
Duration of lesson: 2 weeks
Students will understand the concept of averaging of
Students will practice the production of X-Y comparison
Students will navigate to an assigned URL on the Internet.
Students will learn the AVG function of a spreadsheet.
Technology Competencies :
Select and use technology tools to collect, analyze, and display data.
Create/modify and use spreadsheets to solve real-world
Select the most appropriate type of graph to display data and state the reason.
- Access to the Internet once per week to record data
- Access to Excel to create a spreadsheet
- Printer for final product
- Large screen presentation device (scan converter,
video projector, LCD panel)
- NASCAR drivers names on slips of paper
Students have learned how to create and save a new
spreadsheet, are familiar with the vocabulary involving a spreadsheet
(cell, row, column, formula, etc.), can use the arrow keys to navigate to cells, and have created charts and simple
formulas in previous lessons.
Procedure/Activity Completion Steps:
Teacher will demonstrate (via a large screen)
navigating to the NASCAR results site and show the students the column for the
results for each race. http://www.nascar.com/races/
The teacher will click on the Results tab, and then the Race Results column.
Students will choose 2 slips of paper with driver's
Students will create a spreadsheet which includes the
- A title (bolded and in 14 point type) on the spreadsheet
- Their name (bolded and in 12 point type) on the spreadsheet
- The spreadsheet will have 3 columns: Race / Driver 1 Position / Driver 2 Position
- Each row will include a different race.
The race names should all be entered when the
spreadsheet is created. The schedule for the races may be found here: http://www.nascar.com/races/
- The teacher will introduce the concept of averages,
and explain the students will be computing the average position their driver
attained over the NASCAR season.
- Students will be asked to use the AVERAGE formula at
the bottom of the two position columns. The formula
is =AVERAGE(RxCy:RzCy) Here is an screenshot of a small completed
Students will then be asked to graph a comparison of the two drivers
finishes for the series on the spreadsheet. They should be reminded about
including a graph title, labeling the axes, and creating a useful type of
graph. A sample graph might look like this:
8. Students will print out a copy of their
spreadsheet and graph to hand in.
|RUBRIC FOR NASCAR SPREADSHEET
||Student visited Web site weekly to collect data.
||Student needed to be reminded to visit data collection site.
||Student rarely visited data collection site.
||Spreadsheet includes title, name, and all rows and columns are labeled. All data is entered.
||Spreadsheet includes title, name, and most data is entered.
||Many required elements are missing.
||Appropriate chart type selected to compare data. Title on chart. All axes labeled. Data correctly chosen.
||Some elements of a good chart are missing. Data chosen correctly to appear on chart.
||Inappropriate chart type chosen. Incorrect data chosen to appear on chart.
||Graph and spreadsheet printed out cleanly and handed in on time.
||Graph and spreadsheet printed out cleanly and handed in late.
||Missing parts of final product.
Extensions/Follow Up Activities:
Students may work in cooperative groups to compile data on multiple drivers and create graphs that compare drivers in a single race, across multiple races, or the averages for the season.
Students can find out how the series standards are computed, how points are accrued, and how the Winston Cup Champion is determined.
This lesson is intended to be taught during the last two
weeks of the NASCAR season, in November. The data for all the drivers and their
placing in the previous races is archived. If this lesson is taught at another
time, archived data from the previous year should be used to allow for a large sample of
data to be entered.
I went into a sixth grade classroom working on a unit on averages to teach this lesson. I used an AverKey and a television set. This did not provide a large enough screen for whole class viewing, so next time I would use the video projector and project the computer screen onto the wall.
I first had the students brainstorm things they knew about a spreadsheet in order to reactivate their prior knowledge. They were well-versed in both terminology and use, so I knew the choice of Excel would not be a problem. I introduced the formula of AVERAGE, and, since they were just studying it, they were amazed at the ease which an average was computed.
When I navigated to the NASCAR page, the interest level markedly rose in the room. I could hear mutterings such as "Jeff Gordon rules!" and "Martin's the best!" as I began the introduction to the data collection portion of the lesson. Using the interests of the students to provide the content base for a skills-based lesson seems to be a good idea. This can be adapted for other grades levels by using Pokemon for elementary students and rock groups for older ones.
The students understood the premise immediately, and were anxious to start entering the data. The classroom teacher made up a schedule for data collection, and also scheduled the computer lab for a group time when everyone could create their spreadsheets and enter the initial data. I attended this lab session, and acted as a technology assistant to the classroom teacher.
I periodically visited the classroom over the two-week period and observed students collecting and entering data, and printing out their final product. They were anxious to figure out how the points were computed each week as they noticed the point levels often rose even for drivers who did not finish the race in the top ten. The teacher encouraged these students to do further research and report the results to the class.
I did notice the students referring often to the rubric to remind themselves of the criteria which needed to be addressed. It seems as if a rubric is an ideal method of reinforcing the task and expectations of the assignment. The final products were well done. Some students even included graphics of their driver and their car on the final product. Students also were anxious to see which drivers in the class averaged the highest position for the season, so an additional extension activity was started.
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Created by Kathleen Schrock (email@example.com) 3/1/2000