How to Create Interactive & Differentiated Activities with Google Slides for Secondary Students


With the advent of remote teaching came stress and a steep learning curve. A positive byproduct of the pandemic is some great new ways to engage students. One activity format that I have embraced is conditional Google slides. I call them ITTT, if-this-then-that, because depending upon a student’s answer they are sent to a different place.

Conditional Google slides is a format in which students answer a question and, based upon their response, they are automatically sent through different next steps. If a student answers a question correctly they are forwarded to a slide that says, “congratulations, you’re correct.” Conversely, if a kiddo answers a question incorrectly they are shown a new slide that let’s them know there were wrong and can offer further support.

Why Use Conditional Slides

This is an interactive method of teaching that can be used remotely, in the classroom or in a blended model of teaching. I love the self-paced and supported functions of this model.

Students who are quick learners can breeze through new material without being held back. Other learners can take their time and revisit material to better enable their understanding and assimilation. It’s a win-win for all involved.

Let’s Do this!

For each question you create there are 3 slides necessary:

  • The question slide with possible answers
  • A slide for students who answer correctly
  • A slide for students who answer incorrectly

So, if you want to assign 5 questions how many slides will you end up with?

Did you say 10? Look over the list of slides you need for each question you create and try the question again.

Did you say 15? Good job, go to the next question.

See what I did there? That’s an example of the 3 slide sequence.

The good thing is that for the correct answer slide you simply make it once and copy it for each subsequent question.

If you choose to simply let your student know that they were incorrect and to try again you can also just copy and paste one slide. If you opt to add extra support by clarifying the question or content it will, of course, be different for each question.

LET’S SEE THIS IN ACTION:

Slide 1 – the question
Slide 2 – incorrect answer including a re-teach
Slide 3 – correct answer.

Does that make sense so far? I hope so. Next is the techie stuff. For each slide you will “program” the students’ response as to where to go next. You do this by creating internal links or hyperlinking.

So, if a student clicks on the correct answer you will link that answer to a specific slide, namely 2 slides forward. Look at the example. Slide 1 is the question, slide 2 is incorrect and slide 3 is correct. You will program the oval that students click on for the correct answer to go to slide 3.

For the correct answer go the the “you’re correct slide, which is 2 slides after the question, and copy the URL. Now go back to the question and hyperlink that URL to that URL.

You may be wondering: Why can’t I just hyperlink to the slide number for the correct answer? Hyperlinking to the URL of the slide keeps the answer and slide “attached” even if you add or delete slides. If you hyperlink to slide 6 and then realize you need to add a directions page or a reading passage you’ll have to change your links to the correct new slide number. If that has you confused, don’t worry about the why, just use the URL technique.

If a student clicks on any of the incorrect answers they’re all hyperlinked to the next slide.

The way to do this is easy. Click on the oval shape next to the correct slide. Right click and choose the link icon and choose “slides in this presentation”. For all of the wrong answers choose “next slide”.

For slide number 2 in the sequence, the “you’re incorrect slide”, hyperlink is to the “last slide”, which will bring students back to try the question again.

The final slide in the sequence is the “You’re correct” slide. Hyperlink this to the “next slide”

Once you accomplish this task you’re done. That’s the whole sequence, 3 slides for each question. Congratulations! You can go on to the next question and repeat the process.

HACK: For your last slide in the sequence, the “you’re correct” slide, make it once and then simply duplicate it for each question following. It’s hyperlinked to “next slide” which will always be correct.

You can do the same thing for the “you’re incorrect slide.

To help guide you, here is a shortcut cheat sheet of the steps to take:

Extra Work, But Worth it

You can go through the steps shown above and you will have created a conditonal Google slides activity. Here’s the problem: if you make the entire slide in Google slides and share it with your students the entire slide is able to be manipulated. This means that students can inadvertently move around the question, pictures or anything else on the slide. That’s bad.

You DON’T want your hard work to wind up like this!

In order to avoid this problem I make my ITTT slides in a two-step process. First, I create a PowerPoint presentation of everything that students don’t need to manipulate. This includes everything except the answer buttons.

Next step is to make a PNG or JPEG (doesn’t really matter which ) copy of the PowerPoint presentation. Now jump over to Google slides and upload each slide as a background. The last step it to add the buttons and hyperlinks.

In this way students cannot manipulate anything except for clicking on the buttons. It is much more user friendly for the end user. I know, it’s an extra step for an overworked teacher. However, once you make your first template you can use and edit it over and over again.

If you’re interested in other Google student activities check out my article on drag & drop activities (with a free download Included). Just click here to check it out.

I hope this how-to was clear and concise. If you have any questions feel free to email me at teachandthrive@gmail.com

My goal for all teachers is for them to teach ‘n thrive!

If you want a done-for-you-lesson like the Geography of Mesopotamia that was shown in this post go here:

Teach and Thrive

A Bronx, NY veteran high school social studies teacher who has learned most of what she has learned through trial and error and error and error.... and wants to save others that pain.

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