Last week, I opened up a Google Sheet and all I could see was a fun coding game waiting to be designed for kids! I had a blast creating the game and decided to give it a Valentine’s Day theme due to the upcoming holiday!
Since posting a link to this Sheets coding game on Twitter (www.tinyurl.com/ValentinesCoding), I’ve had quite a few inquiries asking about the process. So, here are the steps for those that are interested! And, here’s the game Template if you want to check it out!
Step 1: Create a Cover Image for Your Game
I knew I wanted the first Tab to be the cover of my game. So, I merged the cells in the Sheet to create a space for the image. I created a basic image with Word Art and shapes by using Google Drawings. Once finished, I downloaded the image as a PNG File. Then, I went back into Sheets and selected Insert-Image to place the image into the cells in the Sheet. I cropped out all the extra cells by using The Crop Sheet Add-on but you could also crop the Sheet cells out manually.
Step 2: Design the First Level
The paint bucket allowed me to fill in the different cells with color. I eliminated the cell borders in each Sheet except for the area where the coding challenge would be located. Titles and directions were added by merging cells in order to make room for text. I used OpenMoji.com to add decorations and characters into the game.
Step 3: Data Validation
The Data Validation tool in Sheets made it simple to add the different answer choice into a dropdown list for each level of the game. This feature also allowed me to make the correct answer choices fill with green paint while the incorrect answers remained red. This would make it easy for students to self-correct!
Step 4: Adding Coding Block Images
I decided I wanted a corresponding coding block image to appear once students selected answers. To do this, I created the images in Google Drawings and then went to File-Publish to get a direct URL to the image. I created a Sheet Tab with links to all the images and posted the URLs in there. (You could HIDE this Tab.)
The VLookup formula allowed me to have the spreadsheet insert the images that match the student answer choices. (If you open the Template you can see all the formulas underneath the answer choices and modify them as you wish. And, if you don’t know a lot about formulas, you could just modify my Sheet as you will most likely see the patterns. I don’t know too much about advanced formulas myself.)
Step 5: Create a Congratulatory Image
To show students they completed the level, I decided I wanted an image to appear on the Sheet stating they completed the level. To do this, I assigned each correct answer choice a point value by using an IF statement such =IF(O3=”East”,1,0). I placed this formula in the cell below the data validation choices. I merged the cells below the coding choices to allow room for the image and inserted another IF statement to make the image appear only if a student gained enough points by selecting the correct answers.
Step 6: Duplicate Tabs to Create New Levels
Once I had my first level completed, I then right-clicked on the tab and duplicated the level. I then created new levels by changing colors, directions, data validation choices, and images! I had my 10-year-old give the game a test run! He loved it! So…..now I share with you!