Forget Math Drills- Teach Them Spreadsheets

Math was my nemesis during every year of my education. I hated it with a passion. Countless tears were shed by me in frustration at my inability to grasp what seemed so simple to others. When I entered high school, my new rhetoric became “who cares as long as I pass…when am I going to use geometry or calculus anyway?”. I made sure I passed by resorting to (insert a blush and a gulp here) cheat notes in those moments when math truly was beyond me.

When I finally landed a great job as a project manager, math came back to haunt me. Calculating risk, resource allocation, project time span all required simple math that no longer seemed to reside in my brain. Then someone taught me to use an excel spreadsheet. It was THE tool that I wish I had been taught in school. It made math fun and in my case, possible.

It seems to me that if the technology exists and it is not going anywhere, why not have it be part of the curriculum?  It would benefit children in all skill levels.  It would make it accessible to kids who have a hard time and would open up all sorts of possibilities for the kids that are great at math.  My experience in the corporate world was that computer literacy was no enough. To be a competitor in the workplace more than intermediate understanding of software applications are necessary.

Now that my son is in the third grade, grasps the basic concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, he can start tinkering with spreadsheets. He will learn the basic mechanics of how spreadsheets work by using math concepts he’s already comfortable with.

According to my son, he may just surf professionally when he grows up, but just in case that plan falls through, I want him to be prepared.

For Excel Tutorials for kids-

http://cybersleuth-kids.com/sleuth/Computer/Tutorials/Excel_Tutorials/index.htm

For inexpensive lessons-

http://www.technokids.com/computer-curriculum/camp/excel-for-kids-technothink.aspx

Article By Nuria Almeida

Picture By

Article By Nuria Almeida

Picture By Ivan Walsh

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