Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Posts tagged ‘excel’

My Little Welsh Pony

I am persecuted relentlessly in my school every day. Every day I drive to work I am openly mocked by my students for my way of life.

I speak, of course, of my 2007 Toyota Yaris.

Me and my ride

Greenwood, a farming town of around 1000 people, is solidly truck country. There is some debate between GM and Ford, but a man without a truck makes as much sense as a cow walking on its hind legs. My entire car fits in the wheelbase of most of my students’ beloved trucks. And for this, I am mocked.

My car has been as dependable as the sunrise, tough as a mule, and nimble as a mountain goat. It has survived every winter for the last five years, been loaded down with a week’s worth of camping gear, driven through snowstorms that dumped two feet of snow on the state, and survived a direct hit from Bambi at 70 MPH. But to my students, there is only one eliminating factor: it can’t tow.

It does not matter that I love cars, that I used to work at a racetrack, or that I have seen every episode of Top Gear. My car gets no respect in my classroom.

So I decided, in a roundabout way, to defend my little Welsh pony in a lesson on Microsoft Excel. Using Edmunds.com, my students researched a replacement for my beloved steed. The requirements were as follows:

  • The replacement has to be economical
  • The replacement has to cost under $20,000
  • It has to be cool

Using Excel’s formula functions, my students were able to use the mileage information on Edmunds to find out how much it costs me to drive any car per mile, per day, and per year. They also were able to look up information such as displacement and MSRP. They then created graphs for each of these cars and presentations that tried to ‘sell’ me on a new ride.

Imagine the spring in my step when nearly overwhelming evidence pointed right at my car as one of the best for me.

Yaris for the win!

I was happy with the runners up, which included the Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper, and the very cool 2013 Beetle.

However, when this was presented, my students had to point out: “It still doesn’t tow.”

A typical parking lot in Greenwood

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