Ideas for the computing curriculum: #4 Fun and pointless? Why not?

ideaIn this series I’m going to be making some suggestions, putting out some ideas. These are based on presentations I’ve given. I can think of how these ideas, or their implications, might be applied in the classroom. However, I think it better if I stand back and let you do that part of the work!
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Computational thinking and spreadsheets

Data Model Template - Excel spreadsheetOne way you can “get into” computational thinking is through spreadsheets. Taking a practical view of what “computational thinking” means (see What is Computational Thinking?), I’d say that spreadsheets definitely fit the bill. In order to try to solve a problem using a spreadsheet, which is a tool for modelling or simulation, you have to do the following things:
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A self-marking spreadsheet

I like a challenge so I thought I’d try to create a self-marking spreadsheet in Excel. (Look, some men like fast cars, some like sport, and some like womanising. Me? I like spreadsheets. OK?)

 

I was inspired to have a go at this by someone called Lee Rymill, who uploaded a self-marking spreadsheet to the CAS resources area. However, I wanted to take it a few steps further…

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