As I've said before, I love spreadsheets. Of course, I picked a winner randomly in a spreadsheet! I typed all the names of people who left comments on that first blog post into the cells of a column. I assigned a number to each friend from 1 to 12. Then, I picked a number between 1 and 12 using a random number generator. Spreadsheets usually come with two functions: RAND() and RANDBETWEEN(). RAND() chooses a random decimal between 0 and 1 while RANDBETWEEN() chooses a random integer between two numbers.
Who needs random number generators? I use them every week. We've been encouraging the students at Harvest to memorize math facts for the four basic operations. They've cut the time it takes to recall sixty math facts dramatically. A few months ago, I made a spreadsheet with sixty math facts. I set it up with random numbers, so that each week all I need to do is press a button and all sixty problems are replaced with fresh numbers.
To choose a winner, I typed RANDBETWEEN(1, 12) into a cell of the spreadsheet, and it returned the number 8. Who is 8? I'll get to that in a bit.
Another neat feature of the spreadsheet is being able to write a formula once and copy it in other places. If you watch the video, you can see how I first typed the number 1 in the cell to the right of Sylvia's name. Then, I typed a formula right of Jamberry's name. The formula basically tells the computer to add 1 to the cell above it to get a new number.
Why bother with typing a formula when I can quickly type the numbers 1 to 12? Sometimes, I need to type a bunch of numbers. Copying a formula down makes the job easy. I use the keystrokes for copying a cell and click and drag the bottom right corner of the cell. The formula copies down as long as I continue to scroll.
The video is quite short, and it reveals who won the potholders.