Sunday, May 2, 2010

Excel Map Project

 This trimester students are working on a cumulative assignment that I call the “Excel Map”.  For this assignment students insert a background image of Washington State into an Excel spreadsheet and then insert comments that explain what they have learned in each chapter.  They must have 2 comments per chapter.  To organize the comments, I tell them that they must come up with items for each chapter that use all 26 letters of the alphabet.  A typical comment might look like this:
“A is for Apple.  Apples are grown mainly in Eastern Washington and the state produces 50% of all the apples sold in the United States.  Apples are an important part of the economy because they provide a livelihood for farm owners as well as workers.”
Notice that the first sentence simply states the item.  The second sentence provides a piece of data while the third sentence explains why the item is important to our state.  In addition, to the written portion of the comment, students must “bring it to life” by providing a picture or a link to a website (or both) that explains more about the item.  
    To help them succeed on this assignment, students have received a scoring guide, explaining how they will be graded as well as a planning sheet to help them think about what they will say on the map.  In addition, I have created some screencast tutorials that explain how to use the software.  If students do well on this assignment they are guaranteed to pass the class, and thus will not have to repeat it at the high school.  However, if they do not do well, then it could mean they won’t pass the class.
If you have any questions or comments about this assignment, click here.

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