Spreadsheets are an important part of any ICT curriculum. They can, however, be quite a dull topic for students – unless they’re introduced creatively. One of the first spreadsheet activities I have got my students doing is to play battleships using spreadsheets. This is a brilliant way of introducing students of all ages to spreadsheets; in just one session of battleships, they learn how to format cells, locate cell references and navigate the spreadsheet interface. As shown in the video below, once students have made their battleship templates, the teacher can then proceed to call out cell references in an attempt to destroy the vessels! As students’ vessels are hit, they must change their colour to black.
For the subsequent lesson, I ask students to make a design of a theme park using spreadsheets. (I have also adapted this activity to include designs of villages and holiday resorts). After the students have made their designs, they have to work out the costs of building what they have designed. In the example of a theme park, this means that students have to enter the appropriate formula to calculate the costs of building different rides, restaurants and other attractions. Each worksheet becomes gradually more difficult, as students move on to entering additional data into the spreadsheets. The tasks can then be further differentiated to provide students with a budget and to get them to calculate whether or not they have gone over their budget. These respurces are ready to be downloaded above.
This is a quick tutorial video I have made for setting up the battleship game: