4.2 - Data and Information Literacy


Spreadsheets. Just the word is enough to make some people worry. But at a primary school level, spreadsheets are simple. You'll have your pupils making formulas and graphs in no time!

These two activities build on their previous knowledge, so make sure they were taught the Years 3 and 4 activities before attempting these.


4.2 - Data and Information Literacy

  • explore and analyse data sets, highlighting relationships within them.

Skill by Skill

  • Create a spreadsheet with a variety of data in individual cells that is formatted correctly.
  • Interrogate a spreadsheet to investigate outcomes.
  • Convert measures of currency using multiplication or division.
  • Create a table and a line chart.
  • Create a spreadsheet with a variety of media such as charts, tables and images.

(EAS ICT Skills Framework)


spreadsheet     cell     data     format     currency     formula     row     column     line chart 

Activity 1

Holiday Money

The pupils will be creating a spreadsheet for a Currency Exchange company, making it easy to convert pounds into other currencies. This activity can look daunting at first glance, but don't worry, a few simple formulas are all that's needed.


  • Make a copy of our model sheet then do the activity yourself first, so that you will be familiar with what the pupils will be doing and also have a model to show them at the start of the activity.

Activity Tasks:

  1. Explain what a currency exchange business does and when you would use one.
  2. Show the pupils your model spreadsheet, highlighting the key formula (see link below) and the fact that changing the amount of pounds changes all the other currency amounts.
  3. Remind the pupils how to format the different cells to show date or currency. Also point out where the formula button is on the toolbar. They should know all this from their Year 4 activities.
  4. Ask the pupils to create their own version of the spreadsheet, using current exchange rates. (These can easily be found on the web with websites such as Allow them to round to two decimal points.
  5. Ask them how much they would receive in the various currencies for differing pound amounts. They should input these pound amounts into their spreadsheet to see the changes that occur.

Success Criteria

  • I can format cells for currency and dates.
  • I can use formulas to calculate currency exchange.

Other Framework Elements

2.2 - Storing and Sharing

Saving the spreadsheet in the correct folder and opening it is good practice.


spreadsheet     column     row     cell     format     currency     formula     exchange rate

Variation Ideas

This activity focuses on very specific skills so we would recommend teaching it as it is.

Activity 2

My Beating Heart

Pupils will have created bar graphs from their spreadsheets in the past. This activity moves on to line charts whilst also adding some multimedia aspects. It is a great activity to combine with a science unit that measures changes over time (in this example, your heart rate).


  • First, practise the activity yourself so that you can create a model for you pupils and help them when needed.
spreadsheet graph

Activity Tasks:

  1. Plan and conduct an experiment on the effect of exercise on heartbeat. Count your heart's beats per minute (count for 20 second and multiply by 3) before exercise, immediately after and then every 1 min until it returns to pre-exercise levels.
  2. Record the results in a simple table on your spreadsheet. One column should be for time elapsed, another for heart beat per minute.
  3. Highlight the two columns and use the 'Create graph' function to make a line chart.
  4. Ensure both axes are labelled correctly and the graph is given a title.
  5. Insert images to place by the table (preferably images they took during the investigation, or images of their planning work.)


  • Spreadsheets aren't as complicated as people fear. Take this activity slowly and guide the pupils step by step and it will be easy - for them and for you!

Success Criteria

  • I can create line charts to present my data.
  • I can add images to my spreadsheet.

Other Framework Elements

3.3 - Evaluating and Improving

Your usual peer-assessment and/or self-assessment.


spreadsheet     cell     column     row     line chart     images     multimedia

Variation Ideas

This activity can be used to record any data that is suitable for a line chart (usually changes over time). Using it as part of your science unit is the best way to make it relevant to their learning.