Gamify Stale Lessons Using Google Forms

At the beginning of the school year, a teacher stopped by the library with a worksheet in hand. She wanted the students to learn more about the library databases and she thought a scavenger hunt via a worksheet might be a good place to start. I loved that she loved the library databases! I loved that she wanted to get students to love the library databases! However, I did not think the worksheet would actively engage the students, and there would be no love gained.

After discussion, I discovered she wanted students to locate current articles about an aspect of science each week. She planned several activities around these articles throughout the semester, but she knew the first step was discovering the library databases.

Enter Google Forms.

We created a digital-breakout-edu-like Google Form using the data validation option. By setting up questions with data validation, students could only move forward when they added the correct answer. By using this method, students engaged in the challenge with much more excitement and drive. When they reached the correct answer, we would hear clapping or shouts of joy.

I also utilized Google Forms in this way with a class struggling with the measurement aspect in 3D printing. Students struggled to understand centimeters and millimeters, converting different measurements, and basic ruler techniques. With the Google Form, students had to be precise with answers–just like measuring. When they struggled to get the correct answer, students discussed how they measured and what could be wrong. The class began to come together and help each other.

What does it look like?

When adding a question in Google Forms, choose Short Answer and then choose Data Validation. This allows you to enter an exact value or phrase. When the student adds the correct answer, the student can submit and go to the next section. If a student enters an incorrect answer, it will appear red and not allow the student to submit or move forward.

It also allows you to add a message for wrong answers–helpful hints, encouragement and any other additional needed information.

Google Form Overview


How do I create this?

Once you open Google Forms and add a question, follow the steps listed.

Google Form Validation

  1. Choose Short Answer.
  2. Click the three dots and Data Validation.
  3. Click the drop down menu to choose Number.*
  4. Choose Equal To from the list.
  5. Enter the correct number.
  6. Provide instructions in the next space for wrong answers.
  7. Move the slider to require the question.

*Choose Text to use with exact phrases.  Students will need to enter exact order and letter case to match.

More Information

For more information about using Google Forms, see the following links.

G Suite Learning Center

Shake Up Learning Google Forms

Author: Becca Munson

Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.

Categories: Blog Topics, Technology

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2 replies

  1. How can you use Google forms with response validation if your answers are not numerical, but an actual word or short answer?

  2. Hi! When creating the question, select Data Validation as mentioned in the post. Instead of choosing Number, choose Text. The drop down menu to the right provides choices. Choose Contain. Enter the exact word or phrase in the next line.

    Students will need to enter text in the correct case and letter order. Click on the following link to see a screenshot – .

    Thanks for your question. Please let me know if you have any other questions. -Becca

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