Emphasize the importance of documentation when working with spreadsheets or any programming language for future reference.

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  • Students tend to think they’ll remember details of what their program does as well as what their columns and rows represent, but everyone forgets these details when they’ve been away from a project for a while.
    • For example, students will abbreviate words and then forget what these abbreviations mean just a few months later.
  • Tell students that for them to be able to understand their spreadsheets in a few months or years, they need to be clear enough that someone else could understand it without further explanation.
    • Warn them that if they don’t properly explain their work, they’ll have to do even more work when they can’t figure out what their old program does in the future.
  • It’s important to keep updating models, it’s also important to have thorough documentation of the process to look back on.