Let knowledge drive your lessons

Matthew Evans

Thinking about the knowledge you want students to acquire is fruitful. We spend a great deal of time as teachers planning lessons and sequences of lessons, but perhaps not enough time considering the nature of the cognitive specimen in question.

I am currently teaching Year 7 students how to use spreadsheets. Critical to basic spreadsheet use is the ability to construct simple formula. The simplest formula is adding, subtracting, dividing or multiplying two numbers together. We might construct a formula like this…

=C2+C3

The above formula would instruct an Excel spreadsheet to add together the numbers found in the ‘cells’ named C2 and C3. The answer will appear in the cell where you have typed the formula.

Critical to formula construction is an understanding of the structure of a spreadsheet. Many Year 7 students (at least in my school) have not encountered a spreadsheet before. When I show them one…

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