Using Excel to teach and explain

Assignment Title >>    Using Excel to explain and teach here

Essential questions for this activity:

How can I use Excel to organize data and create results I can use to teach others about a particular topic?


End product for this activity:

You are going to create a persuasive MS Word handout or PowerPoint presentation that represents actual data you have entered in Excel in a form you can present to those in your class.

You may work with a partner if you choose.

Here's the checklist of what your assignment will include:

  • At least three charts you created that utilize data you chose
  • At least four sets of data included each charts
  • At least three well-written explanatory paragraphs explaining what your reader should understand from your charts
  • Chart headers that explain what the chart shows and how that information supports your points
  • Explanatory captions as needed
  • Layout that carries eye appeal
  • An explantory header


You will be using batches of numbers to work with various Excel functions.
Here are just a few ideas for data sets you could use for this assignment. You can choose others as you wish, but don't spend a lot of time looking for the perfect set of data. You just don't have tons of time.

  1. Energy consumption by state
  2. Miles of interstate highway listed by state
  3. Total electricity produced in each state
  4. Median income by state over the last 20 years
  5. Lists of national debt
  6. World Giving Index - see page 11
  7. Most RBIs by season and player
  8. States listed by population and size
  9. Money spent on various common illnesses
  10. Violent crime statistics by state
  11. CIA World Factbook
  12. Americans' recreation expenditures
  13. Tons of facts about the size of states

Find and compare the cost of used cars by mileage and age. here





image of the words step one >> Getting started

  • Review the data sets above. You may select one of these or select a data set of your own - as long as it is something appropriate that you can understand

  • Select a question you want to answer or a point you want to prove.
    Here are just a few ideas for questions. The number in parantheses at the end of the question is the number of the data set in the section above that may help you.

    • Who was the greatest baseball player of all time? (7)

    • How do the cost of brand name clothes and similar non-brand name clothes compare? (Check places like Amazon, Target, Kohl's, and Wal-Mart)

    • How does television viewing relate to health, grades, etc.

    • How does crime relate to the population density of a state? (13)

    • How does population density in the Rocky Mountain states compare to the coastal states? (13)

    • How does crime relate to the population density of a state? (13)

    • Which nations in the world give the most and how does that compare to their wealth? (6)

    • How do the state populations and their area differ? How are they the same? (8)

    • How does the number of miles of interstate highway in a state compare with its population? (2)

    • How do the ratios of national debt in various nations compare? (5)

    • How does research money spent on various diseases compare? (9)

    • How does time spent video gaming affect grades?

    • How do the crime rates and population per square mile of a state compare? (8)

    • How does the United States compare to other nations in life expectancy, population growth, military expenditures, etc. (11)

    • How do Americans' expenditures on recreation vary by part of the nation, education, or level of education? (12)

    • Which states have seen the greatest changes in personal income over the last twenty years? (4)

    • Which states have the highest percentage of land in national parks? What about total area? (13)

    • How do the five largest states and the five smallest states compare in their percentage of the total United States land area? (13)

    • How do states east of the Mississippi and states west of it compare in average and total land areas? (13)

    • What is the average population density of the states in various regions of the United States? (13)

  • After you have reviewed the data, decide on a 'so what' point of view. Ask yourself what you can teach with the data you find. Be ready to explain just what the data mean.

  • You will use at least 6 data fields with descriptive information. A good example might be a selection of used cars with their make, model, mileage, and price. 

  • You will create a handout or presentation with at least two clear charts, explanatory titles, and descriptive piece of text to convince your readers of your position.  here


    Note this graphic

    Do not ignore these things. :)       >>

    In most cases, there are two key points to making this assignment work.

    First you need to understand your question and what you are trying to say.

    Next, you need to clearly understand what your X and Y axes represent or, in the case of a pie graph, how your data relate to the whole.



They are shown in the steps above.


These are files to help you as you create this portfolio.



Check your work with another student. here

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Image of the words step two >> Instructions


Create a Word document or PowerPoint presentation that explains your findings.

Keep it simple and allow plenty of room for your graphics.

  1. Format your paragraphs or slides to keep readers interested.
  2. Use simple explanations.
  3. Allow plenty of room for your graphics.
  4. Your handout should fit on one side of an 8.5" x 11" paper or within six slides, but if you need more room or more slides, that's fine too.


Here are some handy tips for the handout:

Keeping the data in similar groups that you can identify by appearance and location is handy.

Use color to make it look good.

Copy and paste your graphics directly from Excel.


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Evaluation Form

Use the following criteria with your evaluators to assess your handout or presentation

  1. Are charts clear and easy to understand?
    15 points - All are well done and clear
    12 points - All are well done, but the meaning is somewhat vague
    9 points - Charts are difficult to understand
    6 points - Only one is complete

    0 points - Charts are missing
  2. Does the text explain the author's position well?
    15 points - All text relates to the topic; grammar and spelling are correct
    11 points - Text generally relates to the topic, but the meaning is hard to follow; grammar and spelling are correct
    8 points - Text generally relates to the topic, but the meaning is hard to follow; grammar and spelling contain some errors
    6 points - Text does not relate to the topic and the meaning is hard to follow; grammar and spelling contain some errors

    0 points - Text is absent or does not
  3. Overall appeal
    15 points - The handout or presentation encourages the viewer to understand more about the topic.
    11 points - all but one are complete
    8 points - all but two are complete

Assignment Total - 45 points

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