Spreadsheet Tutorial 3: Column Graphs, Error Bars, and Standard Error of the Mean
Resource Type
Description
In this activity, students explore different ways of creating simple bar graphs and adding error bars from calculated statistical values using builtin functions in Excel or Google Sheets. Students apply what they learned by plotting beak size measurements of Galapágos finches collected before and after a drought.
This activity covers statistical concepts including standard error of the mean and confidence interval.
Student Learning Targets

Use a spreadsheet program to calculate the standard error of the mean for a sample data set.

Create a bar graph and add error bars showing the standard error of the mean.
Estimated Time
Key Terms
analysis, average, column graph, confidence, data, Galapágos finches, mean, plot, standard deviation, sum of squares, variance
Terms of Use
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercialShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Version History
Common Core (2010)
Math.NQ.1, Math.FLE.5, Math.ASSE.3, Math.AREI.3, Math.SID.5, Math.SIC.3; MP1, MP2, MP4, MP5
AP Biology (2019)
SP4, SP5