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Computer Applications | Google Apps | Middle School | Google Sheets

3 Best Lesson Plans for Teaching Google Sheets in Your Middle School Classroom

August 11th, 2021 | 7 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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Instructing students in a new application such as Google Sheets can be overwhelming, both for you and your learners. You may be familiar with teaching Google Docs as a word processor resource for your students, but you might be less comfortable using Google Sheets to help students learn how to create and manage spreadsheets.

You want to provide your classes with resources that are interesting, age-appropriate, and meet your educational standards. Since spreadsheets can often be confusing, you want to make sure the resources you use are relevant to your students.

In this article, we’ll review three of the best lesson plans available for teaching Google Sheets in your classroom.

For each resource, you’ll learn:

  • What each resource includes
  • Who the resource is best suited for
  • How much the resource costs

After reading, you should have a better idea of which Google Sheets lesson plans could be a good fit for your classroom.

1. Google Sheets Tutorial from GCF Learn Free

gcf-learn-free-google-sheets

GCF Learn Free is a service of the Goodwill Community Foundation. The GCF Learn Free program helps people develop the critical skills necessary for learning and living in today’s world. Their library of resources features over 2,000 lessons on 200 different topics, including computer applications.

What does the GCF Google Sheets Tutorial include?

The Google Sheets Tutorial includes 19 step-by-step lessons divided into five main parts. Throughout the lessons, students learn the fundamentals of how to use the Google Workspace suite of applications before moving to Google Sheets, and finally, to more advanced features within Google Sheets.

The five main parts of the tutorial are:

  1. Google Drive and Google Docs (7 lessons)

  2. Spreadsheets Basics (5 lessons)

  3. Common Spreadsheet Tasks (5 lessons)

  4. Extras (2 lessons)

  5. Google Sheets Quiz

This comprehensive lesson plan delivers everything students need to get started with Google Sheets, from creating an account to working with functions, sorting and filtering data, and understanding number formats. Lessons are delivered online in a text-based format and are available in video form through GCF Learn Free’s YouTube channel.

How much does the GCF Google Sheets Tutorial Cost?

Along with every resource from GCF Learn Free, the Google Sheets Tutorial is free and openly available on the web. Learners have the option of making an account to save their progress.

Who is the GCF Google Sheets Tutorial best suited for?

The Google Sheets Tutorial from GCF Learn Free is appropriate for middle school students but can also benefit older students and adults.

The lessons in the tutorial are straightforward and easy to understand, making this resource a good choice for introductory computer applications lessons that include learning spreadsheet formulas and functions.

2. Google Sheets Lessons - Introduction to the Basics from Proven Computer Lessons

google-sheets-lessons-proven-computer-lessonsProven Computer Lessons is a reputable provider of instructional materials on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT).

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where educators can create and share their resources for other teachers to implement in their classrooms. 

Through Teachers Pay Teachers, Proven Computer Lessons offers hundreds of computer-based activities for students, including introductory lessons in Google Sheets.

What do the Google Sheets Lessons include?

Google Sheets Lessons - Introduction to the Basics includes 28 pages of material designed to familiarize students with the fundamentals of using spreadsheets within the Google suite of applications. Over the course of six lessons, learners develop an understanding of the basic operations of Google Sheets.

The six lessons include the following content:

  1. Students learn to add, merge cells, copy a formula, and use spell check.

  2. Students will create a spreadsheet using the Sum Function.

  3. Students edit and add data to the spreadsheet created in Lesson 2. Topics include multiplying, merging cells, using the fill handle to copy a calculation, currency formatting, applying fill color, and increasing decimals.

  4. Students will learn to subtract and sort data in a spreadsheet.

  5. Students will learn to subtract and divide. Students will also sort, decrease decimals, and analyze data by answering a question.

  6. Creating a Basic Chart – Students will learn how to create a basic chart, including a chart title, data labels, and moving the chart to its own sheet.

By the end of the six lessons, students will have the ability to create their spreadsheets and use basic operations. Each lesson will last about 30 minutes in addition to a 5-10 minute instructor-led demonstration. The materials are delivered in a zip file and are fully compatible with Google Apps.

How much do the Google Sheets Lessons cost?

These resources are available for purchase for $5.95 or as part of the Computer Technology Curriculum Complete Unit Google Lessons bundle for $94.37. 

The other elements in the bundle are primarily designed for students in fifth grade. Educators also have the option to access this resource through TpT School Access, a school-funded subscription service from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Who are the Google Sheets Lessons best suited for?

Proven Computer Lessons’ Google Sheets introduction is suitable for students in grades 5 to 7. According to Teachers Pay Teachers, these lessons are most popular with educators teaching sixth-grade students.

The Google Sheets Lessons - Introduction to the Basics are a good fit for teachers looking for a few lessons to teach their students the foundations of spreadsheets during early middle school. The resource includes everything teachers need to help students create a basic spreadsheet, but teachers looking to move beyond the basics will require additional resources.

3. Applied Digital Skills Lessons from Google for Education

google-for-education

For teachers interested in materials directly from the application’s creator, Google’s Applied Digital Skills lessons include dozens of options for teaching the fundamentals of Google applications to middle school students, including Google Sheets. 

Google’s own educational materials are designed to be accessible and up-to-date and include a variety of learning resources designed to meet the needs of different classrooms.

What do Lessons from Google include?

Google’s numerous lesson offerings include hours of activities for students to explore the capabilities of Google Sheets and learn the essentials of creating and managing spreadsheets. The Applied Digital Skills library has nearly 30 lessons appropriate for a middle school audience. Some of the lessons are explicitly focused on skills within Google Sheets, while others teach Sheets as part of a broader lesson in Google Applications.

Here are some of the best lessons available from Google:

  • Create a Budget in Google Sheets

  • Manage Your Time with Google Sheets

  • Create a Study Schedule to Manage Your Goals

  • Calculate Probability with Google Sheets

  • Create a Crossword Puzzle

  • Make a Word Game

  • Wage a Sea Battle with Google Sheets

  • Find the Mean, Median, or Mode of a Data Set

  • Schedule Project Tasks in Google Sheets

Each resource includes everything you need to teach, including lesson plans, video instructions, sample rubrics, and certificates of completion. Activities vary in length from as little as one 45 minute class period to as long as seven to nine classroom hours for more elaborate projects, such as creating a budget.

What do Lessons from Google cost?

Google’s Applied Digital Skills lessons are free and available for anyone to use. While you can view many materials without logging in, you’ll need to sign in to your Google account to access some of the features in each lesson.

Who are Lessons from Google best suited for?

Google makes lessons for all audiences, so you’ll need to check on the individual lesson page to ensure it’s appropriate for your students. There is also a search filter for limiting lessons to just those suitable for middle school students.

Whether you want a quick, fun project students can complete in a single class period or a major instructional exercise that will take multiple days, Google provides plenty of resources to teach its Sheets application.

Which Google Sheets Lesson Plan is Right for You?

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Any of these lesson plans can help you introduce your students to spreadsheets and data using Google Sheets. Which plans are right for you will depend on the amount of time you have to teach spreadsheets, the most important concepts to cover, and the needs of students in your class.

If you’re looking for free, easy-to-follow Google Sheets instructions through a text or video format, GCF Learn Free could be a good fit for you.

If you want a low-cost option that covers just the basics of Google Sheets for a middle school audience, consider Proven Computer Lessons.

If you’re searching for a variety of activities designed by the application’s creator, go directly to Google for Applied Digital Skills lessons.

However, you may not only need lesson plans for Google Sheets. If you find yourself searching for new lesson plans, again and again, each time you teach a different application, you may want to think about implementing an entirely new Google applications curriculum.

Considering the number of applications you need to cover to meet your standards and the time involved in preparing lesson plans for each one, using a full curriculum could save you time.

When compared with creating a piecemeal curriculum using different lessons and activities, a comprehensive curriculum could provide all the materials you need in a fraction of the time.

To learn more about the differences between using lesson plans to teach Google Applications and a complete curriculum, read this article:

Google Apps Lesson Plans vs. Curriculum: Which One Do You Really Need?