You have received an unexpected windfall of money. How are you going to spend it? How much will you save? This is the introductory premise for students in TechnoBudget, TechnoKids’ most recent release in the Google Apps for Education series of computer projects.
Building student interest in learning spreadsheet skills may be a challenge. But using a fun, meaningful, and appealing scenario will engage students and give context to their learning. If students find a task personally relevant, they are much more likely to feel motivated, become emotionally invested, and understand the value of the skills they are learning.
In TechnoBudget, students draft a budget, develop a spending plan, go on an online shopping spree, and then justify their financial choices using Google Sheets and Docs. And there is a version for Microsoft users too!
The project begins with students rating their personal money management style. They find out if they are spenders or savers. Next they receive a fictional windfall. They must create a budget worksheet in Google Sheets within specific requirements for spending categories and saving. Making a pie graph of their decisions allows them to easily edit the amounts.
A spending plan worksheet is then created to keep track of purchases, taxes, category subtotals, and overspending. Spreadsheet skills introduced in TechnoBudget include:
- use Auto Fill
- format font, fill cells with color, and apply borderlines
- merge cells
- apply conditional formatting
- copy formatting using Paint Format
- produce and format a pie and column or bar graph
- sum data using AutoSum
- use formulas and functions
The project concludes with a financial report. Students use Google Docs to justify their decision making. Guiding questions help students explain their choices and share their insights about money management. They include the graphs they have made to support their decisions.
In addition, TechnoBudget includes a variety of optional, enrichment activities to extend learning about spreadsheets and about financial literacy:
- Comparison shopping
- Use functions to analyze data
- Filter and sort
- Calculate with if-then formulas
- Explore debt repayment
- Develop consumer awareness
- Draw money idioms
TechnoBudget includes a teacher guide, digital student worksheets, sample workbooks and budget reports, checklist, and marking sheets.