Creating a Spreadsheet and Graph

What is a spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet is a document which helps you organize data in rows and columns of cells. Each cell can contain words, a number, or a formula. A formula does calculations with the numbers in other cells. You can make charts and graphs automatically.


Students will be able to:                            

Time Required:

1 to 2 days


spreadsheet, cell, column, row, survey, data, data collection, graph, chart, x axis, y axis 


Microsoft Excel

Computer access


Begin by explaining to students that they will learn how to create colorful graphs by adding data to a computer program called Excel. Have each student watch you as you open the Yummy Jellybean template. Demonstrate to students the following three steps:
  1. Click cell A2, where the words "Student Name" are and type your name instead. Explain that the box around your name is called a cell, and that the cell you used is called A2 because it's in column A, row 2.
  2. Ask students to name three of their favorite jellybean flavors, such as a cherry, grape, licorice. Highlight the words "Jellybean flavor #1," "Jellybean flavor #2," and "Jellybean flavor #3." Type instead the names of the flavors they choose.
  3. Explain to students that you are going to rate the flavor 3, 2, or 1. A "3" means they love it; "2" means it's okay; and "1" means it's yucky! Demonstrate by putting scores in cells B2, C2, and D2 for each of the flavors . (You should have a 3, 2, or 1 in each of those cells.)

Have students open the Yummy Jellybean template on their own computers (Be sure to put the file on students' computers beforehand, or show them how to access it on the school's network if that's an option). Call on each student individually, and have students call out their evaluations (3, 2, or 1) for each flavor. The rest of the class then types each student's name and score for each flavor on their own worksheets. Walk around to make sure students are putting the information in the correct cells and that no student is behind.

When the spreadsheets are complete, have students save and print their work. Next, walk students through the four easy steps of creating a graph of their work. Have them click Insert > Chart at the top of the screen and then:

  1. For Step One: Make sure "Column" is selected under Chart type, and then click Next.
  2. For Step Two: Click Next.
  3. For Step Three:
    • Under Chart Title, type " Yummy Jellybeans" 
    • Under category (X) axis, type "Names."
    • Under Value (Y) axis, type "Our Evaluations."
    • Click Next.
  4. For Step Four: Click "As New Sheet" and then click Finish.

Each student now should see a graph of the Yummy Jellybean survey results. Students can print the graphs for class work credit


Students will be assessed on

Extension Activities:

Have students name three of their favorite fast food items, such as a burger, milkshake, chicken nuggets, and so on from a specific restaurant.  Explain to students that they are going to survey 10 friends/family members to rate the food 3,2, or 1.  A "3" means they love it; "2" means it's okay; and "1" means it's yucky!

Students are to follow the same procedures as demonstrated in class.  They will print their spreadsheet and graph to share with the class.  

Home Learning:

Survey classmates to find out how many hours of homework they do each night. At home use Excel to display the results as bar graph or pie chart.