If I Had a Million

Project Overview

Software Type: Spreadsheet

The example project created in this Lesson Accelerator addresses ISTE Standards Performance Indicators for middle grades as used in a(n) Social Studies, Life & Career Skills curriculum. It could also be used with older learners or adapted for lower grades. See the section on Extending and Adapting at the bottom of this page for ideas on how to use this same project for different subjects, grades, and skill levels.

Project Launchers

Lesson Accelerator Project Launcher pages contain video tutorials that show you, step-by-step, how to create this project using specific software applications, as well as a movie showing you what the finished project looks like. They also provide a download of all the example files used in the project, so you can recreate it.

When you've reviewed all the information on this page and would like to go to a Project Launcher, click the application name below that corresponds to the one you'd like to use for the project.


Students will be creating a spreadsheet that tracks how they choose to spend a million units of their local currency. The example project uses the U.S. Dollar as the currency type, however the tutorial movies demonstrate how to choose a different currency from the available options. The spreadsheet will include several different expense categories. Formulas will be entered to calculate the amount spent in each category, as well as to calculate the total spent and subtract the total from the starting amount of 1 million. Students will create a pie chart to show the percentage of the total amount spent in each category. They will also learn how to format and customize their worksheet and chart.


To provide students with the opportunity to learn how to apply technology tools toward solving routine calculations and building graphical representations.


The student will be able to:

  • Create, modify, and format data in a spreadsheet cell.
  • Create formulas for solving routine calculations.
  • Appropriately use terminology related to spreadsheets.
  • Create, modify, and format a pie chart.

Preparation and Skill Mastery

Students should have mastered basic computer skills, such as using input devices (mouse, keyboard, etc.), opening and closing applications, and saving to a personal folder. If students will be entering data for their own expense items, they should research and collect prices of specific items prior to beginning this project.


  • A computer with spreadsheet software installed.
  • Information found in the Student Information section of the Project Activity Guide, or an individual's list of items and prices to be entered in the spreadsheet.
  • A printer (optional).

Task List

The tasks to be completed for this project include:

  • Formatting fonts and color for specific cells.
  • Setting a currency symbol and formatting the number display.
  • Creating formulas to calculate category totals.
  • Creating a formula to calculate the total of non-consecutive cells.
  • Creating a formula to countdown from one million.
  • Entering item information.
  • Creating and modifying a pie chart.
  • Moving between sheets in a spreadsheet workbook.


Assessment can be based on the following:

  • Has the student been able to accurately set up and format spreadsheet cells?
  • Is the student able to use spreadsheet terminology correctly?
  • Is the student able to enter the required formulas accurately?
  • Is the student able to generate a pie chart from the spreadsheet data?
  • Can the student modify the pie chart formatting to provide a clear and easily understood representation of his/her spreadsheet data?

Extending or Adapting

Here are some possible ways that this lesson plan might be extended or adapted for different timeframes, grade levels, and skill/ability levels:

  • This project demonstrates how to track expenditures against a specified target amount. In this case, how many dollars have been spent from the one million starting point. The skills learned by completing the example project could be applied in other subject areas and/or grade levels where running totals subtracted from a known starting point is desired, such as keeping an inventory of certain items or setting up a monthly expense budget.
  • Younger students might work with smaller numbers, perhaps starting with one hundred instead of one million.
  • Students can create other types of charts or graphs that represent their data set and compare what types – for example, bar chart vs. scatter graph – gives the most easily understood representation, given the information they are tying to convey.

What's in a Project?

Each project provides:

  • Project activity guide
  • Copy of the completed project
  • All the resources needed to recreate the example project
  • Step-by-step tutorial movies that walk students through the project
  • Assessment rubric