Introducing spreadsheets with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
Traditionally we have taught the basics of spreadsheeting in S1 by providing learners with lists of products and prices (e.g. Star Bar, cost £0.42, sales 50) and having them use a formula to calculate the total sales revenue of each product. Dull!
This year we decided that rather than superficially manufacture data, our students would generate their own data by playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.
The initial one hour lesson was all about playing the game. We focused on 2 events: the long jump, and the 100m sprint.
The class took it in turns to compete against each other. (Note that 4 players can compete simultaneously in each event). Each player is is allocated a “data logger” whose job it is to note the long jump distance, 100m time and position of their partner e.g.
Player Name: Danny
100m time: 10:04s
100m position: 5
Long jump distance: 5.45m
Long jump position: 2
For a class of 20, this takes pretty much an hour to complete.
Learners are handed out the data sheets from previous week. Their task is then to create a spreadsheet and use it to log the results.
There are a range of spreadsheet functions which can be explored:
- basic data entry
- formatting fonts / styles
- formatting number (time/distance to x decimal places)
- sorting (fastest time, longest jump)
- using formula (to calculate total points… = 9 – 100m position + 9 – long jump position)
In summary, learners are (obviously) more engaged because using the Wii to generate data is great fun. But just as importantly they are engaged because they have ownership of the data and it has meaning for them. And this is where the Wii works so well in the classroom – it offers an effective and engaging way of generating personalised data (or numbers) for use in learning.
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