Decisions at the Ptomaine Fish Co.

Malcolm Swordfish president of the Ptomaine Fish Company needs your help. He is looking to hire a delivery company for his business. But he’s not sure which company to choose. So he has sent a letter to your math class for some help. Please read the letter. Each group will be responsible to come up with advice for Mr. Swordfish.

In order to solve this problem you will need to create a spreadsheet and graph. But first fill out the Ptomaine Fish Problem worksheet before continuing. 

1. Open the Excel Spreadsheet program. You should see something like this:

Columns are vertical and are labeled with capital letters. Rows are horizontal and are numerically labeled. The intersection of a row and a column is called a cell and can contain three types of information: Text, numbers, and formulas. Text and numbers can be entered directly by clicking on a cell and typing the text or number. Formulas, on the other hand, require that you start with an equal (=) sign. More about formulas later.

Make a table like the one below:

You can finish this table by entering in all the information directly into each cell. An alternative is let the spreadsheet do the work for you dynamically with formatting and formulas.
  • You can format your columns in “currency” so that columns B, C, and D all are formatted in dollars and cents.
  • Highlight column B.
  • Choose the cells option on the format menu.
  • Click on currency and then OK.
  • Your numbers should now be in currency format.
  • Repeat for rows C and D.
Making the table with formulas

Since the numbers in each column are following a pattern we can use a formula that will generate the numbers themselves.

Next, fill down your formulas by selecting the cell and

and dragging down as far as you like.

The appropriate numbers will magically appear.
Repeat for columns C and D.

To make a graph or chart of this information do the following:

  • Highight all cells containing data.
  • Click on the chart wizard.
  • Choose the Line chart type.

  • Click on Next
  • Click on the series tab.

Since you want a graph of the cost of the deliveries only, remove Deliveries from Series.

Next enter the chart title, Category (X) axis and Value (Y) axis.

Click on Finish and your final chart will look something like this:

Use your chart to help you respond to Mr. Swordfish’s letter.