Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread House - Excel Style

After seeing a classroom doing something similar, I decided Alexandra could use a lesson in Excel - and make a pretty Christmas picture. So, I found a gingerbread house at Math Wire and broke it down into more squares to make my project work.
Then, I started with the Excel basics. I taught Alexandra how to open Excel and then explained about cells, columns and rows and how they are named. Then, I taught her about the "fill" button and how to select cells to be colored in. After that, we made our own pictures. I also taught her how to name & save her file and how to name her tab and move between pages.
Next, came our step by step lesson.
  1. Select the entire page to format (click on button by "A" & "1")
  2. Click Format > Row > Height > 20
  3. Click Format > Column > Width > 4
  4. Go to "borders" and add the border that looks like a window - this will outline each cell so it is easier to fill in. (At this point, the page should be filled with squares. We'll be working with columns A - S, or A - T if you change the margins).
  5. Fill in row 1 & 2 with background color (A-S)
  6. Fill in J & K on Rows 3, 4, & 5 with chimney color and the rest of those rows with background color.
  7. Continue giving directions row by row. (Actually, Alexandra decided she wanted to decide where her windows were, so I helped her get the general outline of the house and she finished it on her own.)
  8. Select the entire page and go back to "borders" and remove all borders. Then, you can put the borders back on the windows or any other place you'd like them.
That's pretty much it! Below is my house after I removed the highlights around each cell.

Below is Alexandra's gingerbread house. I like that she used different colors than I did, a welcome mat, and even added a window box under the upstairs window!

Also, she taught me something! (Yes, that always seems to happen!) When you are using the "color fill" or "border" buttons, you can actually drag and drop them closer to your picture so you don't have to keep going up to the toolbar! In the above photo, you can see her "border" menu on top of her house. On my 1st photo, you can see the "color fill" menu by my house.
I've also created a snowman we might work on tomorrow. And, I'm busy searching for and creating other lessons for both Word and Excel. If you know of any or have posted any, please let me know! Thanks!


Robin said...

I love this idea. I wonder how GB would like it? It's a good way to visually see progress as you are learning something, in this case Excel.
I have to admit that I've never tried Excel, so it will be a learning experience for me, too.
But have no fear, Jabem is here to help me if I get stuck. He's good to have around for computer learning. :-D
Thanks for the inspiration!

Teacher of One said...

That is soooo cool!!! I believe we will have to try it!

Rhonda said...

This is so cute Dana! What a great idea!

MommyShan said...

Great idea Dana! I've been teaching my girls to use Excel too....but nothing even remotely as fun as this idea! We'll have to give it a try...

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