Comparison Shopping with Excel
This lesson is great for the study of economics, as well as
math. Although it was used with second-graders, it is
completely scalable for use with much older students -
the older, the more they might be required to generate
their own spreadsheet, or select data online! For younger
students, we created a spreadsheet which allowed
students to simply enter the names and prices of
products, and it automatically did all the math.
In this activity, students compare the prices of items at
various stores using an Excel worksheet. Students can Shopping Spree Spreadsheet
find the prices for items in newspaper ads or at online
As data is entered, the worksheet automatically:
o Highlights the lowest price
o Identifies the lowest and highest prices
o Calculates the average cost of each item
o Calculates the total cost of all items at each store
o Creates a graph to compare each item at each store
o Creates a graph to compare the total cost of all items at each store
o Shows the lowest cost per item next to the cost of the item at the store with the
lowest total cost
o Creates a graph to compare the cost of the item at the store with the lowest total
o Creates a graph to show the amount saved on each item by shopping at several
stores instead of shopping only at the store with the lowest total cost
1. Click on each of the cells marked ITEM and enter one of the things you are going to
shop for in each cell.
2. Click on each of the cells marked STORE and enter one of the stores you are going
to shop at in each cell.
3. Record the price of each item under the store name in the yellow squares. As you
enter the numbers, only the lowest price will be in yellow.
4. To view the graphs, click on the tabs at the bottom of the screen.
5. To print all pages, select ENTIRE WORKBOOK on the print window.
Older students can be taken through the entire process of creating the workbook. The
functions used are AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, IF, ABS, CHOOSE and SUM. Conditional
formatting causes the lowest prices to be highlighted for each item. The graph wizard
was used to create the graphs.
Younger students can simply fill in the numbers and discuss the graphs.
Mid-level students could be shown how to use the AutoSum button to sum the prices at
Prices for items could be found in store sale ads or at online shopping sites.
Students should discuss the costs involved in making several trips to the stores with
the lowest price for each item instead of one trip to the store with the lowest total
The cells below the student instructions help students compare going to the store with
the lowest price on each item to going to the one store with lowest total price of all
items on the list.
The spreadsheet is protected so students can change only the cells where they enter
prices, items, and stores. The password is xmas
Shopping Spree Spreadsheet
Right click on the link above and
choose "Save target as..." to
save a copy of the spreadsheet.
Writing Extension: You could obviously save money by buying each item at the
store where it is cheapest. This would mean you'd spend more time and resources
(gas, car, etc.) getting the items on your list. Which would you do: buy all items at
one store or buy each item at the store where it is cheapest?
Students in Ms. Scheider's class at Rosa Parks Elementary
have been studying and writing myths. After each student
composed their own myth, they posed as a character from
their story and took pictures of themselves with digital
With their myths typed in MS Word, they inserted their
picture. Then they used the Autoshape button on the Drawing
toolbar to insert stars on top of the image at strategic
locations (joints, feet, head, etc.) Next, they used the line
autoshape to connect the stars.
Finally, they moved the digital image out from under the
stars so that all that was left was the constellation of the
character from their myth. They're final version included their
myth, the digital image and the constellation. These
constellations could also be created with Microsoft Image
Composer. Students would need open the image of Student Examples
themselves and insert clip art of stars over their image. When 12345
the stars are in place, they can delete their picture so that
only the constellation shows. constellation.
Do This Activity with Image