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Age Range: 14-16
Duration: 0-29 mins
  • Mathematics

Data logging - difference calculations

Making calculations and applying formulas to a spreadsheet of data

In this maths activity students will be asked to estimate the number of visitors within an aquarium. They’ll do this by using a spreadsheet mathematical formula that calculates the difference between the number of people entering and the number of people leaving the building.

This is one of a set of resources developed to aid the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3, supporting the teaching in maths.  

Activity: Making calculations and applying formulas to a spreadsheet of data

Students will view a dataset that has monitored the number of visitors entering and leaving a large aquarium. Learners will be asked questions based on this data, including how many visitors were in the building at a specific time. They will also be given a spreadsheet formula for calculating the difference between the number of people entering and exiting the building and be asked to adapt that formula for the different times of the day.

Download our activity overview and presentation for a detailed lesson plan for teaching students about data logging.

The engineering context

Learning how to use maths formulas within spreadsheets saves a significant amount of time and brainpower, allowing engineers to quickly extract information from raw data.

Devices that allow public buildings to monitor the number of visitors that are within a building at any one time are an example of data logging in practice. This may be essential for fire safety regulations or to prevent various areas from getting overcrowded.

Suggested learning outcomes

This data logging activity will give students the opportunity to identify and then attempt to explain numerical patterns and sequences. It also allows students to practice using formulas within spreadsheets such as Excel or Google Sheets.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

Download our classroom lesson plan and presentation below.

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