Boy have I enjoyed introducing my detectives to Excel!
Two or three times a month, on a Friday, especially if it's the day after a test or quiz, we give everyone a laptop and they spend an hour trying to write Excel statements. For the first couple weeks I think 75% of the class had a hard time doing the spreadsheets. They either stumbled through it with me helping them every 5 minutes or they didn't get it at all. Now, months later, I think everyone can write something like "=sum(A5:G5)/365.25.
I like doing a spreadsheet emphasis in our Forensics class because
- This is my public high schools lower track science class. Less than half of these students will probably finish a 4 year degree succesfully. They could be standouts in their job with a skill like this.
- If these forensics students go on to actual police department jobs there must be plentiful opportunity to keep track of arrests, evidence, warrents on the computer.
- I think once they learn it, the skill will be rather permanent, unlike what I'm teaching them about fingerprint patterns and neutron activation analysis of hair.
- The logic statements are a foot in the door for REAL computer careers could be a sort of 'gateway drug' to actual scripting or database programming. I would love to hear someday that a student was able to parlay her understanding of "=IF("A7 <= 18", "Minor", "Adult") into pursuit of a computer science degree at college. I would really, really love that
Download 114_nmr Right click and select Save-As if you want to see a typical exercise. This one took my students about 40 minutes to complete. Feel free to use it if you find it helpful!
ItI have been able to find police department statistics on the web for things like arrest warrents