Archive | February 2012

Calculating profits from selling virtual lemonade

Calculating profits from selling virtual lemonade

In this lesson, students set up a virtual lemonade stand and decide how many cups of lemonade to prepare, which ingredients to buy, and costs for each cup of lemonade. The game simulates customer behavior, and students record their decisions and outcomes.


Students will employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.

Students will understand the basic concept of profits and losses.

Learning outcomes

Students will purchase ingredients for making lemonade.

Students will determine the cost to produce one cup of lemonade.

Students will assess weather forecasts and customer behavior patterns to determine how much lemonade to make each day.

Students will use an Office Excel spreadsheet to collect data and record outcomes.

Students will write a report reflecting on their data and the outcomes.

Lesson procedure


When you run your own business, you have to make a lot of important decisions based on math. You have to calculate how many supplies to buy, analyze the data you collect from your sales figures every day, and make decisions about the future based on the conclusions you draw from your information.

In this activity, you will each set up and run your own business—a lemonade stand. You will make all the business decisions about materials, costs, and how to make the lemonade. You will run the lemonade stand, record your data, and then analyze how much money you made or lost.

Remember that even if the lemonade you sell tastes really good, you may not always sell a lot. Sometimes the weather affects how much lemonade people purchase. You will get to see a weather forecast, but remember that weather forecasts are not always accurate.

Before you start playing, you will read directions that will show you how to start and operate your lemonade stand. As you run your business, you will use an Office Excel data collection spreadsheet to record your decisions, your data, and your outcomes. When the game is over, you will write a report about the reasons you made a profit or the reasons you did not.

Student activities

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student guide link at right.

Step 1: “Run your lemonade stand and record your data”

Step 2: “Analyze your profits and losses”

Lesson extension activities

Ask students to use one of the charts in Office Excel to help them visualize and analyze their data.

Ask students to write a strategy handbook for running a successful lemonade stand.

Ask students to create an ad campaign to attract more customers to their business.


Assess students on their data collection and their final reflection. They should use mathematical terms and draw conclusions by reviewing their data.


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In this section:



Ages 5 to 10

Ages 11 to 13

5+ 45-minute class periods


How a business goes sour

Ask students to name some factors beyond those included in the game that could affect a real-life lemonade stand. For example, would it matter where the lemonade stand is located? Why? What about the way the staff treats customers and handles complaints?

Software and materials needed

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Calculating profits student guide


Excel data collection sheet

via Calculating profits from selling virtual lemonade.


Discover the science of archaeology

In this activity, students learn to distinguish the sciences of paleontology, history, and archeology. Students will study the goals and methods of archaeology, research an ancient site, and then create a multimedia article that presents their findings.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of the goals and methods of the science of archaeology.

Students will use multimedia sources to present their research to audiences in and beyond the classroom.

Learning outcomes

Students will research archaeology and one ancient culture using the Internet.

Students will write a magazine article about an archaeological dig associated with a specific culture.

Lesson procedure


Archeologists are some of the greatest adventurers of science. They study ancient cultures and civilizations in remote as well as familiar places to help us better understand humankind. Consider an image from an archeological site, the Moche Lords of Sipán, for example. Go to Bing Visual Search and search for “Moche Lords of Sipán.” Show the students the image of “Moche Lords of Sipán.” What might this discovery tell us about the people who lived here? How do we know this culture existed between 100 and 800 C.E.? Why is it important to know about these people and their way of life?

Archeologists study the past. They study different aspects of the past, however, and approach the past differently from paleontologists and historians.

Paleontologists are scientists who study prehistoric life forms on earth by examining fossils. They focus on rocks, plants, animals, and other life forms, but they do not study hominids (human beings, chimps, and their ancestors) or their culture and behavior.

Historians are scholars who study the written record of the human race and/or oral histories of human cultures.

Archeologists are scientists who study human cultures by recovering, documenting, analyzing, and interpreting environmental data and remains such as architecture and artifacts. Archeologists seek to understand human behavior and ecology and the development of human culture.

In this activity you will take on the role of an archaeologist who makes an important discovery at an ancient site. Then you will create a multimedia article for an archaeology magazine to announce your discovery to the world.

Student activity

Research the science of archaeology and one ancient culture, then use what you learn to write a magazine article or online post describing a discovery at a dig.

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student handout link at right.

Step 1: “Explore the science of archaeology and an ancient culture”

Step 2: “Write your magazine article”

Step 3: “Publish your article”


Have students present their articles about their discoveries to the class directly. Make the magazine articles available online to all of the students and to the wider community. Or hold a “scientific symposium” in which each student/archeologist presents his or her discoveries to fellow students/archeologists, answering questions about goals, methods, and interpretation and about the discovery itself. Finally, publish the papers of the symposium and a summary of the discussion on a class-built archaeology website.


via Discover the science of archaeology.

Literary scavenger hunt

book hunts

Literary scavenger hunt

In this research project, students learn about literature in a new way by searching the web for information about books and authors. When they’ve completed the scavenger hunt, students publish their findings in an interactive slide show.


Students develop an interest in learning about literature.

Students develop web research skills.

Students answer questions and solve problems creatively and interactively.

Learning outcomes

Students search the web for information about literary classics.

Students create an interactive Office PowerPoint presentation to effectively communicate the results of their research.

Lesson procedure


If the phrase “classic literature” makes you think of dusty old books, think again. How about word-searchable websites? Hypertext? Electronic library? Now that classics have been brought into the digital age, they are even more accessible, and you can interact with them in new ways.

In this activity, you and one other classmate will team up in a literary scavenger hunt of English classics on the web. You’ll have just one hour to do your research, using the list of questions I will give you and your teammate. You will have just one more hour to create an interactive slide show in Office PowerPoint based on your research. Then you’ll present it to the class. Once we’ve seen all of the presentations, we’ll vote for the best presentations in terms of content, design, and overall quality.

Student activity

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student handout links at right.

Step 1: “Track down the answers to your scavenger hunt questions”

Step 2: “Convert your questions and answers into an Office PowerPoint presentation”

Step 3: “Format, design, and animate your slides”

Step 4: “Create an interactive slide show to present your findings to the class”

Scavenger hunt list. Before this lesson, develop a list of questions for the scavenger hunt. Sample questions are provided below. You can modify this list to reflect your particular curriculum. If you do so, here are a few guidelines for writing the questions.

Clear, concise questions with brief answers are best for this activity.

Questions can pertain to literature that the students have already encountered in the classroom but should also introduce new material.

Make sure that the answers can be found in the available sources.

Here are some sample questions for the hunt.

Name two novels by Ernest Hemingway. When were they were published?

Who wrote Travels with Charlie? Describe Charlie.

Define the “American dream” and give an example from a novel you’ve read.

Who wrote Lord of the Flies? Briefly describe the setting and theme.

What do the protagonists in The Scarlet Letter and Fahrenheit 451 have in common?

What is the nature of the conflict in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Who wrote 1984? What is the protagonist’s greatest fear?

Name two plays by Arthur Miller. Give a one-sentence description of each.

Where does a symbol of God appear in The Great Gatsby?

Who is the narrator of Mary Shelley’s epistolary novel Frankenstein? What is the basic conflict in this story?

Name a nature writer from the school of American Romanticism.

What new kind of story is Jo trying to write to win a contest in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and what kind of story had she been writing before?

Who wrote the novel Jane Eyre? The novel uses the motifs of an old manor, a Byronic hero, the madwoman in the attic, and “the vampire.” What is the name for these kinds of motifs?

What was the name of the periodical that Charles Dickens published Great Expectations in from 1860 to 1861 in serial form?

In which chapters do you find the two famous death scenes in Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Who dies in each scene?

In his memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass identifies what enabled him to free himself and work to free other slaves. What is it?

What year was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice first published? What year was it first published under her name instead of “Anonymous”?

What is the devastating natural disaster in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God?

Who is the one man Buck will not steal from in Jack London’s Call of the Wild? Why won’t he steal from him?

How many chairs did Henry David Thoreau have in his house on Walden Pond and what was each one for?

Name three classic American novels that were banned and the date they were first banned.

Preview the following websites and add any that you think might help your students locate information quickly:

University of Delaware Library Guide to English and American Literature: You can find more great links here.

Library of Congress: Search the stacks by subject, title, or author.

Bibliomania: Search 2,000 full classic texts by author or title. The site’s author pages contain recommended links to more literary classics.

Classics at the Online Literature Library: Read the full text of many classics.

American Literary Classics: Check for the full text of additional classics.


Have students show their presentations to the class and take a vote on the winning teams in the following categories: Best Overall, Most Informative, and Best Design.

Assess the students on the following:

The thoroughness and accuracy of their information.

The design of their presentation.

Their actual presentation to the class.

via Literary scavenger hunt.

Use synonyms to make your writing vivid


Use synonyms to make your writing vivid

In this lesson, students learn how to identify a synonym, find synonyms in a thesaurus, choose appropriate synonyms to make their writing more vivid, and avoid selecting a synonym that is incorrect.


Students will identify and use correct and incorrect synonyms.

Learning outcomes

Students will use a digital thesaurus to find synonyms.

Students will find multiple synonyms for words.

Students will replace specific words in sentences with correct synonyms.

Students will identify incorrect synonyms for words in sentences they compose.

Lesson procedure


A synonym is a word that has the same, or nearly the same, meaning as another word in the same language. For example, a synonym for “dark” is “dim.” Words often have many synonyms. For example, “drab,” “ebony,” and “murky” are all synonyms for “dark.” You can make your writing a lot more vivid by finding lively synonyms for the words in your sentences. For example, instead of saying, “His hair was dark,” you can say “His hair was inky.” Which sentence sounds more interesting and is more descriptive?

A thesaurus is a book that lists synonyms for words. You can use these lists to find appropriate synonyms for your writing. One thing to remember when you use a thesaurus is that some words have different meanings or usages, so not all synonyms listed for a word have the same meaning. For example, one of the synonyms for “dark” is “gloomy.” If you substitute “gloomy” for “dark” in the sentence “Her book bag was gloomy,” you will make everyone laugh. Another synonym for “dark” is “hidden,” as in “That is a dark secret.” If you try to substitute “hidden” for “dark” in the following sentence, however, you end up making a mistake: “The afternoon was very hidden.”

So when you use a thesaurus, don’t just grab any word from the list of synonyms. Make sure the synonym you choose matches your intended meaning.

In this activity we are going to practice finding synonyms in a digital thesaurus, identify correct synonyms that will make our writing more vivid, and compose sentences that use incorrect synonyms.


Student activity

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student handout links at right.

Step 1: “Find multiple synonyms”

Step 2: “Find a good synonym”

Step 3: “Find the right synonym”

Step 4: “Use an incorrect synonym”


Evaluate the students’ work in the student handouts.

via Use synonyms to make your writing vivid.

Making and reading maps in the 21st century

Making and reading maps in the 21st century

Making and reading maps in the 21st century

Maps have long played an important role in exploration, commerce, and politics. Today, maps can provide a new depth of information and serve as an interactive tool for understanding the world around us.


  • Students will gain knowledge about the types of information (geographical, political, and demographic) that digital maps can provide.
  • Students will gain knowledge about various ways that users can interact with digital map information.
  • Students will gain an understanding of the general process of symbolic representation used in making maps.
  • Students will gain an understanding of how map-making has changed in history.
  • Students will develop skills for using digital maps to provide information or solve problems.
  • Students will develop skills for using a variety of map tools and features, such as finding locations, getting directions, and using pushpin markers.

Learning outcomes

Students will use Bing maps to create a customized map project and present it to the class.
Students will reflect on their experience of making and reading different kinds of maps that yield different kinds of information.

Lesson procedure


Maps are tools that we use every day to provide us with certain kinds of information about our world. We commonly understand a map to be a visual representation that shows all or part of the Earth’s surface with geographic features, urban areas, roads, and other details. Although maps are ordinarily used to show geography, they can represent any space, whether in the universe or the human body, and whether real or imagined. We talk, for example, about a map of the brain or a map of Peter Pan’s Never-Never Land. The name for the study and practice of making maps is “cartography.” A person who makes a map is a cartographer.

Throughout history, geographical maps have played an important role in exploration, commerce, and politics. [Show the students copies of maps from different historical periods and briefly discuss their use and usefulness. You may want to consult Maps and Mapmakers: Three Views of the World for a look at three ancient and medieval mapmakers who revolutionized the way maps were made.]

Today, with digital technology advances, maps can provide a new depth of information and interactivity. Traditional maps, while useful, are limited to one view and can include only a limited amount of information. [Show students a historical map and point out the kind of information it can provide.] Unlike maps in the past, Bing maps and other digital mapping programs are interactive. They can also show many different views of the same subject at once, for example, changes in scale and demographic information. [Show students one of the interactive demographic maps of census tract estimates or interactive carbon emissions maps on the Social Explorer site. You can also show students the sample Bing maps project you created, highlighting one or several interactive features.]

What benefits and limitations of traditional maps can you name? What benefits and limitations do contemporary digital maps have? What do you think is the main difference between these two kinds of maps?

In this lesson, you will learn how to make informed use of new digital mapping information and tools. [Hand out the list you created of Bing maps tools. Using the Bing maps project you created, demonstrate how each of Bing maps tools on the list can be used to create a customized map. As you demonstrate the project, discuss the process you used to create the map. You may also wish to show students examples of Bing maps projects created by students in previous classes.]

[Ask each student to submit an idea for his or her own Bing maps project, or assign each student a project.] The following are suggestions for student projects:

Project ideas for students who are ages 5 to 10 years old

  • Using Bing maps, locate a place your family has visited. Find out how many people live there and how far away it is from your home.
  • Plan a week-long family vacation within your region. For each day, plan an activity, such as visiting an historic site, park, museum, or zoo. Try to travel no more than 200 miles each day.
  • Locate your favorite store or place of interest in another town on a digital map. Label the site, and briefly describe the reasons that classmates would want to visit it. Provide directions to get there from your school, following three different routes. What are the advantages of each route?

Project ideas for students who are ages 11 to 13 years old

  • Trace the Lewis & Clark Trail on a current map. Label important locations along the route, and compare the differences between life along the route then and now, using demographic and geographic data.
  • Research demographic data about your town or city, comparing how the population and the number of schools have changed during the last 20 years, and projecting trends in the next five years.
  • Play “Where in the World Am I?” with your classmates. Find a location somewhere in the world that you would like to visit, and research its culture and attractions. Trace the most direct route to the location from your school, providing clues about the location and the route you have selected with labels along the route. Make sure classmates will uncover the labels on the map as they uncover the route and, finally, the location.
  • Ask students to work in teams to research different periods in the history of map-making, with each team presenting the following pair of maps: one showing the information mapped according to older forms of representation and the other showing how a digital map would display similar or different information about the place.

Project ideas for students who are ages 14 to 18 years old

  • Analyze examples of a topography map, relief map, hydrographic chart, and digital map. Describe the purposes of these maps and how they are created.
  • Research the viability of starting a business in your town or city using information such as population data in specific regions, number of competing businesses in your chosen industry, and site accessibility.
  • Determine the changing infrastructure needs of a major city by tracking demographic and resource trends. For instance, how does population growth affect the needs for housing, roads, and public services such as libraries and schools? Make sure to evaluate needs within small regions or territories, rather than the city or town as a whole.
  • Study the history of cartography from ancient times to the present, focusing on three revolutions in mapmaking before the twentieth century and compare the current shift to digital mapping with these changes. Create maps for each major mapmaking shift studied.
  •  Study the process of map-making, focusing on the use of symbols to represent an actual space. Have students analyze the symbols used to represent locations in traditional maps and digital maps and create their own set of symbols to map a place, creating maps to illustrate each set of symbols.
  • Create a class website and embed the Bing maps that were created by students on the site.

Before students begin working on their projects, you may also want to do the following:

  • Help students develop a dialog about maps and how they can be used.
  • Help students set up their calendars by “backtracking” from the final project due date and setting deadlines for the separate project elements.
  • Assist students with the review of the set of mini-lessons you created on skills needed to complete the project.

During the project you may want to:

  • Allow yourself time to meet with individuals or teams to assess progress and assist in problem solving. Make this an assessment time by checking off and scoring completed elements.
  • Be sure to plan for differentiation or modification as needed for your diverse group of learners.]

Student activity

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student handout link at right.

  • Step 1: “Create your Bing maps project”
  • Step 2: “Finalize your Bing maps project and present it”

Resources and web links

  • Examples of traditional and digital maps. The following websites provide many examples:
    • Time Charts of Cartography: Includes a comprehensive index of maps from ancient times to the present, with links to images.
    • Map collections: Provides access to digital maps within the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress from 1500 to the present.
    • The David Rumsey historical map collection: Offers more than 8,800 online maps that focus on rare 18th- and 19th-century North and South American maps.
    • Online encyclopedia: Use a site that offers photographs, historical timelines, graphics, and text on virtually any subject.
  • A list of the particular Bing maps tools that students will use for the project. This might include the following:
    • Use a variety of views to display various kinds of information: Standard Road Map View, Aerial View, Bird’s Eye View, 3D View with the ability to change altitude, tilt direction, rotate, and more (download 3-D for free to your class computer).
    • Annotate the map: Use the Push Pin feature to add information, texts, and images to specific locations.
    • Copy the map or embed it in a class webpage.
  • A Bing maps project of your own that demonstrates a variety of Bing maps tools, specifically the ones on your list.
  • Project assessment rubrics: Project rubrics are an essential evaluation tool. Rubrics should reflect curriculum, state, and any other relevant standards. Ideally, rubrics are available to students at the start of a project and are used to evaluate teacher-created projects or other projects so that students can have a context for what is expected. Rubrics should be brought up frequently throughout the project and used as an ongoing evaluation tool for self, peer, and teacher assessment. A good source for rubrics is the Rubistar website.
  • Student reflection handout. Student reflection is a vital element of any assessment. It is important that time be allocated at the end of the project for reflection on processes and products. Some questions you can ask are as follows:
    • How are the digital maps of today different from traditional maps?
    • What are the benefits and limitations of digital maps?
    • When would you prefer to use a digital map instead of a traditional map or vice versa?
    • How are locations determined on digital maps?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different views available with digital maps? For example, what information does an aerial view provide? A 3-D view? When might you prefer to use a standard 2-D view? What is the advantage to being able to compare different views of the same location?
    • How is the role and use of maps changing in our world today? Would you say their role is more or less important? Why?
    • What did I learn?
    • What did I do well?
    • What would I change?
    • If I were going to design a digital mapping program, I would include the ability to display ___________ (list the kind of information) and the ability to interact with the map by ____________.
  • Optional materials
    • Examples of student map projects from previous years.
    • A series of teacher-created mini-lessons that address the skills and knowledge needed to complete the project. Students can use these lessons before beginning, to prepare, and/or during the completion of the project to help them keep on track.


  • Ask students to complete the student reflection handout you gave them.
  • Assess each Bing maps project according to the project rubrics you created and shared with students.
  • Create a folder on the class computer to showcase all of the Bing maps or other mapping projects so that students can view other students’ ma

Design, administer, and analyze a generation gap survey

survey design

Students get a lesson in sociological research as they formulate a hypothesis about generational differences, design and administer the questionnaire to test their hypothesis, chart their findings, and present the results of their research to the class.

Students get a lesson in sociological research as they formulate a hypothesis about generational differences, design and administer the questionnaire to test their hypothesis, chart their findings, and present the results of their research to the class.


  • Students will be introduced to the process of creating a hypothesis and testing its validity.
  • They will become familiar with spreadsheet fundamentals.
  • Students will engage in thoughtful discussion about generational differences.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will formulate a hypothesis with dependent and independent variables about generational differences in attitude.
  • Students will design, write, and administer a questionnaire that elicits responses to questions about generational differences.
  • Students analyze the survey results using Office Excel.
  • Students present their findings to the class using Office Excel or Office PowerPoint.

Lesson procedure


Do you have the same attitudes about topics, such as politics for example, as someone who is age 30, 50 or 80?

Do older people and younger people think alike? What subjects might they have different opinions about?

Is there really such a thing as a “generation gap”? Or is this a myth or assumption we make?

You are going to find out the answer to this question by researching the differences between generations the way social scientists do. Working in teams, you will first develop a hypothesis that you believe reflects the differences between generations. Next, you will design, write, and administer a questionnaire to test your hypothesis. Your survey will compare attitudes and opinions about certain issues, based on different variables, such as age, gender, or geographic region. Finally, you will chart your findings, analyze your results using Excel, and report the results to your classmates using Office PowerPoint.

Student activity

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student handout links at right.

  • Step 1: “Formulate a hypothesis”
  • Step 2: “Create a survey and test it”
  • Step 3: “Administer the survey”
  • Step 4: “Analyze your survey data”
  • Step 5: “Present your research findings”

Lesson extension activities

Have more advanced students design the survey form in Excel. For help designing a form using an Excel template, click the Microsoft Office button, Select New, click Installed Templates, click More Categories, and then click Surveys.


Assess the students on the following:

  • Formulation of their hypothesis
  • Design of their survey
  • Administration of survey
  • Analysis of survey results
  • Final Excel or PowerPoint presentation

via Design, administer, and analyze a generation gap survey.