Valentine’s Day: Sheets Coding Game

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.

You may insert an image inside or over a cell.

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.

Select the boarders for your cell grid lines.
Example level with and without grid lines

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!

Go to Data and select Validation to provide a list of choices to complete each level.

Step 4: Adding Coding Block Images

I decided I wanted a corresponding coding block images 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 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 in 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.

Use an IF statement to have a celebratory image appear!
Example of VLook Images Appearing

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! Then, I had my 10 year old give the game a test run! He loved it! So…..now I share with you!

Have you created any coding games with Sheets? Can you modify and edit this game to make it even better? I’d love to hear from you!

The Hour of Code and The Hechinger Report!

The Hour of Code

This month, thousands of students in my district participated in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a global movement by Code.org and Computer Science Education Week to inspire millions of students across the world to learn how to code and learn about computer science. I always get excited this time of year, as Code.org’s Hour of Code reminds me of the time my father taught me how to code when I was in second grade.

Students in our district participated using various robots such as Dash and Dot, Robot Mouse and Beebots, games such as Code Master and Bloxes, and  websites such as Code.org to complete coding courses and activities. I tried to empower students by allowing them to choose their tools, devices and activities.

Hechinger Report

After sharing my article detailing my thoughts and experiences with Wonder Workshop, it was officially published in the Hechinger Report, and ASCD’s  Smart Brief on December 13! I am extremely proud to share the article with you. And, I am extremely proud to continue sharing my passion for The Hour of Code with students and educators whenever possible.

How will you continue to engage students past The Hour of Code?