Understanding and mastering the seismic analysis and design of deep foundations is a challenging yet essential element of the advanced education of students in the field of civil engineering. Our past experience in the academic context of helping students achieve the desired outcomes had been a frustrating endeavor, given the time and effort invested. It is in part in response the need to provide a leaner and more efficient learning and teaching approach that the work described in this paper evolved. In essence, the transfer of lateral loads from deep foundations to the subsurface strata is a complex soil-structure interaction problem. The movements and flexural stresses in the pile depend on the soil resistance, while the soil resistance is a function of the deformations of the pile itself. Furthermore, the ultimate resistance of a vertical pile to a lateral load and the deflection of the pile as the load builds up to its ultimate value are complex and involve the interaction between a semi-rigid structural element and soils which deforms partly elastically and partly plastically. Given the typically limited time and resources allocated to this topic in a three credit course, as other equally relevant applications are to be covered, imparting sufficient and fundamental understanding of this applied problem constitutes a real challenge that the spreadsheet approach presented herein attempted to meet.