Tag Archives: google sheets

Explore Tool in G Suite for Education

explore tool

The Explore Tool is in the lower right corner of any Docs, Slides, or Sheets document.

Google Apps for Education recently announced that it will now be known as G Suite for Education. Along with the rebranding, some other updates were made. Most notable for teachers, the Research Tool has been eliminated and replaced by the Explore Tool, which has some benefits and but also a significant shortcoming.

First, the bad news. Gone is the ability to add citations and footnotes directly into a document using the Research Tool. For teachers and students, this is an unfortunate setback. Being able to easily and quickly identify sources is an essential research skill. What used to be an onerous task, was made simple by the Research Tool. One click on Cite automatically inserted a citation and footnote. We hope that Google will reinstate this function soon. In the meantime, in my next post, I’ll include some online citation makers that create a citation with the click of a button!

The good news is that you can still search without leaving the document. Spending less time switching between apps allows students to focus on the assignment and its content.

In Docs, clicking on the Explore Tool offers three options: WEB, IMAGES, and DRIVE.

Enter a topic into the search box. WEB results include a title, URL, and short snippet summarizing the website. Clicking on a link opens a new browser tab.
explore search results

Clicking on IMAGES offers a gallery of pictures related to the search term. To insert an image into the document, simply drag it where it is to be placed. It will, by default, be in line but text wrap can be changed by selecting the image and choosing Wrap text.
explore tool images

Selecting DRIVE looks in your Google Drive for files that include the search term.

If the Explore Tool is opened when there is already text in the document, instant search suggestions are given based on the contents. Google calls this ‘insight’ and it does seem to work quite well.

The Explore Tool is consistent in Sheets and Slides. In Sheets, use the Explore Tool to ask questions about data using words if you do not know how to construct a formula. Formula and formatting suggestions are offered based on the content of the spreadsheet. In Slides, the Explore Tool also offers design suggestions as well as search results.

The research recommendations, design tools, and insight capability of this new tool make it an effective and productive update to G Suite for Education.

Integrate Mathematics and Technology

Money Management and TechnoBudget

With essential curriculum to teach in addition to computer skills, teachers have to be creative and resourceful to ‘get it all done’. Then to ensure that students are engaged and interested adds another level of challenge!

TechnoBudget is a new release by TechnoKids Inc. created to meet all three objectives:

  • Teach fundamental mathematics expectations
  • Build spreadsheet skills
  • Hook students with meaningful, real world learning experiences

The activities in TechnoBudget develop financial literacy using a scenario that is understandable for young people. The project begins with students receiving an unexpected windfall for which they must create a budget. The budget must fall within specific restrictions. A pie graph is made to graphically depict the budget. Next, students go on a shopping spree using online resources. They organize, calculate, and graph the shopping plan. Finally, they write a report to justify their financial choices and share insights about money management.

Teach Fundamental Mathematics Expectations

  1. Problem Solving
    TechnoBudget follows a problem solving model. As they make their budgets and spending plans, students must apply critical thinking to organize their ideas, research purchasing options, compare choices, reflect upon their plan, and defend their reasoning. The report they write to justify their financial choices is the final communication step that reviews and explains how the solution was reached.
  2. Graphing
    Data management and probability is a core strand in the Mathematics curriculum. Students learn about gathering, organizing, and displaying data. When these learning expectations are applied to a real-life situation such as budgeting, shopping, and making a spending plan, students are much more likely to acquire the skills and understand their relevance.
  3. Money Management and Financial Literacy
    Children are consumers long before we teach them to be thoughtful, wise, and discriminating consumers. Giving them the skills to make good decisions about their spending and saving is essential. The math curriculum should include learning how to manage money responsibly. TechnoBudget begins with an activity where students gain insight into their own values and spending practices. They rate their habits to find out “Are you a spender or a saver?” As they design their own budget, following required restrictions, they build skills to make educated financial decisions. Optional extension activities include comparison shopping, consumer awareness, using a spreadsheet to calculate interest payments, and more.

Build Spreadsheet Skills
As students create the budget, spending plan, and write their financial report, they develop fundamental spreadsheet skills, including:

  • create and manage workbooks
  • insert, select, and format cells, rows, columns, and ranges
  • use Auto Fill to fill cells with a data series
  • produce, format, and label a pie and bar graph
  • use formulas and functions

Hook students with meaningful, real world learning experiences
Designing a budget is a real world experience, not to mention an essential life skill. Receiving an unexpected windfall of money appeals to anyone and engages students. And getting to plan a shopping spree in TechnoBudget will hook even the most reluctant learner!

Integrate mathematics and computer skills

Integrate mathematics and technology

Experiment with Sum in Spreadsheets

There is more than one way to write a formula. In a spreadsheet, there are many ways to write an addition formula. Try them! Which way do you like the best?

You have surveyed your friends to find which color of candy they like best. You would like to know the total number of people you surveyed. Using Google Sheets, open a blank spreadsheet and enter the following information. Make sure you enter the first color – blue – in cell A4.

sum in spreadsheets

Survey your friends or use this sample data.

Sum with the plus sign between each cell:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Type the formula =B4+B5+B6+B7+B8+B9+B10+B11+B12

Sum with a comma between each cell:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Type the formula =SUM(B4,B5,B6,B7,B8,B9,B10,B11,B12)

Sum with a cell range:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Type the formula =SUM(B4:B12)

Sum by naming a cell range:

  1. Select the cells with the votes (B4:B12).
  2. From the Data menu, select Named ranges.
  3. Replace NamedRange1 with votes. Click Done.
  4. Select a blank cell.
  5. Type the formula =SUM(votes)

Which addition formula do you prefer to use? Why?

For more spreadsheet activities using Google Sheets, see TechnoCandy. Students use math and spreadsheets to investigate a problem, conduct a survey, research packaging, and recommend a solution.

Launch a Business Venture with Your Students

TechnoRestaurateur Computer Project

Are you a teacher using Google Apps? Are you looking for an engaging and authentic computer project to inspire your students? Just this week, TechnoKids announced the most recent technology project designed for Google Apps for Education: TechnoRestaurateur, a unique integrated project that uses Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Drawings.

In this project, middle and high school students launch a new restaurant concept, create professional documents, and build practical, real-world spreadsheet skills to analyze the success of their business.

TechnoRestaurateur Computer Project

Applying critical and creative thinking skills, students begin by conducting a survey of their peers. They organize the data in Google Sheets, create a pie graph, and use the results to make decisions about the restaurant. Then they use Google Drawings to create a company logo.

The next step is to write a professional letter with Google Docs in order to raise seed money.

TechnoRestaurateur Professional Letter

With the funding secured, students design a floor plan.

Restaurant Floor Plan

Build graphic skills using Google Drawings to design a restaurant floor plan.

Once the restaurant has opened and operated successfully, financial earnings are analyzed. Using Google Sheets, students organize monthly profits and analyze their earnings to develop a business strategy. They calculate and graph quarterly and average earnings and learn how to interpret a trend line to predict future profits. Finally, the business is advertised using a newsletter to potential investors as a franchise opportunity. The newsletter includes the restaurant logo, floor plan, and earnings graph to support the promotional text.

TechnoRestaurateur

Checklists in the workbook build organizational skills and help students to ensure that they have completed all parts of the assignments.

For teachers, TechnoRestaurateur includes editable marking sheets and a skill summary checklist.

The TechnoRestaurateur computer project also has optional enrichment extension activities:

  • Use Functions to Analyze Earnings – Experiment with additional spreadsheet functions to analyze restaurant financial data.
  • Share Your Files with Investors – Create hyperlinks that link to other documents and then share the newsletter with potential investors.
  • Use Google Slides to Advertise a Deal – Design an animated electronic bulletin board to display special offers or upcoming events in the restaurant.
  • Use Google Forms to Rate Opinion – Build a survey about the restaurant. Have peers rate the food, service, menu items, entertainment, or an idea of your choice. Design a rating scale, have peers complete the survey electronically, and then analyze the summary of responses.

Read more about TechnoRestaurateur, view learning objectives, and see sample teacher guide excerpts and completed sample projects at Technokids.com.