Computer programming, or coding, is a STEM skill that can be introduced at any age. Coding incorporates elements of math, logic, and design. In this activity, students will learn basic coding skills by creating a simple tip calculator “program” using Google Sheets.
This activity works best when presented as an inquiry-based assignment in which students are given a problem to solve and some suggested tools and resources. The process and collaboration required to accomplish the task is just as important as the final result.
Challenge students to figure out how to create a tip calculator that allows users to enter values into blank cells and have the Sheet output the tip amount and total amount to pay the restaurant.
The tip calculator project is appropriate for most middle school students. Challenge more advanced students to build a “what if” grade analyzer that calculates their overall class grade “if” they get XX on their next assignment.
Lesson submitted by Kevin Brookhouser, Code & Design Teacher, Monterey, CA
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