So if I were a trendy “influencer” I’d call this app-smashing — but instead I’ll just say here’s a cool way to use PowerPoint to make a self-checking activity for almost any subject area’s content knowledge (although in this case, there’s a little mathematical skill involved, too). My colleagues Thao and Seane were kind enough to do all the questions for me in this example for math review.

The students get a pile of dominos in their Microsoft Whiteboard, with an answer on the right and the question on the left and they re-arrange them into a square (or a line or whatever). They’ll know they’re right because every domino matches up!

So you start out in PowerPoint – you can use the template here and copy/paste or write your own questions on the slides:

On each slide, put a question on the right and the answer to the previous slide on the left. Now I did find it handy to create all the questions and answers on the same slide first — this let me re-arrange the questions into a reasonable pattern, as I didn’t want two Pythagorean questions side-by-side, but that’s up to you. Then, when I was ready, I shifted all the answers down one slide and moved the last one to the first slide. What’s nice is you can include text or images or graphs as necessary! Nothing interactive, though (yet).

Now, the template above I’ve set so that if you go to Layout, you get a nice mix of colours so your dominos will look more interesting than the mono-chromatic example above, but that’s up to you!

So add questions and slides until you’re done! If you want them to form a square, you’ll want 16, 25 or 36 slides, but you can also give them an early clue and have a START and END slide so they can just do it in a line. I also did an example where it formed an icosagon (20 sided figure — you can read about it here) but I was overly zealous and no one is going to be that foolish again.)

So, now you’ve got all your slides done! We need to make them into dominos. We’ll use a seldom-realized feature of PowerPoint — save the slides as JPGs! Click on FILE and then EXPORT and choose JPGs

It will pop asking you where — pick a spot you’ll remember. It will create a folder with the same name as your PowerPoint File and then put a copy of all the slides as JPGs.

Okay … ready to make the Whiteboard! Head on over to the Microsoft Whiteboard program and create a new Whiteboard.

Go to your folder and CTRL-A every JPG file and then CTRL-C to copy them all into the clipboard at once. Click into your Whiteboard and CTRL-V paste… boom! All your jpgs are now free-floating dominos! You can drag and drop and rotate wherever you want!

Now, you likely want to create a few Whiteboards, one for each group or students, but it’s as easy as CTRL-V paste the dominos into each Whiteboard and then using the People icon in Whiteboard to create a sharing link or to post on Teams.

This was a fun review activity to work in trios inside a Teams Channel meeting for our Grade 9s, and as I mentioned, I created a more intricate one for my Grade 10s earlier (link here).

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