Saturday, June 2, 2018

Boss Battles with Google Forms/Sheets



For a long time, I've been thinking about how to do more than just award experience points (XP) to my students who complete a mastery quest (quiz/test). I've been toying with the idea of making them a bit more interactive and wanted a way to show students how the Boss would lose hit points (HP) as they answered.

Adam Powley (@MrPowley) wrote a piece on Dreadsheets a few months ago, detailing his system, using a very elegant mix of Google sheets, group roles, and dice, kindly sharing all that is needed to implement his system. Make sure to read his post, as it is truly masterful.

His system works really well when you have all those elements in place, but I sadly am not there yet. However, this did not deter me from continuing my pursuit, so borrowing some of his ideas, but trimming it down to the game elements that I do have, I came up with a simpler version that works for me. Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, let me show you how it works.




These boss battles use the simple quiz version of Google Forms and its corresponding Form Responses spreadsheet. You can obtain the folder where I housed both here, though you may just need to make a copy of the Boss Battle Share (Responses). (They are shared as anyone can view, but you may need to be outside of your district domain to make copies).
Also, although I have deleted the data and created several copies, you may find that if you use a copy directly it still carries over some of the "extras". If this is the case, simply create your own Quiz as you would normally do, and once you have the corresponding Form Responses spreadsheet, add a Boss Battle sheet where you copy/paste everything that is included in cells A1:L16. If you do this, you will also need to create a new tachometer, which is a simple gauge chart; if you do not know how to do this, here are some instructions (Stop at slide 8 since you will not need to embed it anywhere else)

Elementanywhere Boss Battle Sheet (although embedded below, you may want to open the link if it is not quite as clear as you wish it to be.)




Finally, I set the quiz to automatically collect email adresses, release grade immediately after each submission, respondents can see missed questions, and, depending on what I want, either limit to one response or not. 

With all of this in place, it is just a matter of sharing your quiz with students, and displaying the Boss Battle sheet to the class using your projector and screen. As students complete the quiz and submit their responses, they can see the "damage" they inflicted on the boss, until eventually, they defeat it.


I usually provide individual XP after a boss battle like this one to encourage students to actively participate. The XP for each student can easily be obtained from the Form Responses sheet. Also, once the boss has been beaten, you can use the information from that same sheet to determine which questions were missed most often and/or sort it to find out how many responses each student submitted as well as their specific answers. 

Now, I do realize that one student can answer 50 times (simply memorizing answers), while another student can decide to not even try once. This can be somewhat deterred by limiting the number of responses so that the reluctant student has to answer in order for the whole class to beat the boss. You could also make the quiz much longer (this 10 question quiz is just an example, with questions that are not particularly insightful). Another idea, which I have not yet implemented, would be to use the Form Responses sheet in a similar scheme to the one discussed in my post about side quests to determine the number of times a specific student answered and assigning XP on a sliding scale, but that is a post for another day.

I would love to hear what you think about all of this. 

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I thought you may be interested to know what my students had to say about this format of "testing". I presented them with a 10 question and a 20 question format, and as you can see, their response was positive, although they all agreed that a shorter quiz was more engaging than a long one.



If you would like to know how to automatically add these scores to your leaderboard or grade book, I invite you to take a look at "Assign XP automatically using Vlookup - Google Sheets".