Decision-Making Adventure with Student-Paced Mode!

Illustration by Kate Moore

Illustration by Kate Moore

Did you ever read decision-making-adventure books as a kid? I did; I loved feeling like I had a say in how the story went, and starting over at the beginning to try for a different ending. The Give Yourself Goosebumps series were favorites of mine, with names like Secret Agent Grandma and You’re Plant Food! Actually, I should come clean here: I still love those books, so much that I contributed to a Kickstarter for a decision-making-adventure version of Hamlet called To Be or Not To Be?

There’s an old-school charm to following instructions in those books: “if you turned left, turn to page 73,” they’d say, and then you’d flip dutifully to the page they mentioned. (If you were like me, maybe you kept a finger on the last page, just in case your choice had dire consequences.) Using the same technique in Google Slides, you can build a decision-making-adventure for your class! It’s simple: just build your Deck in Google Slides, add instructions for your students, then present your lesson in Student-Paced mode so your students can click around to their heart’s content.

Never used Student-Paced Mode? You’re missing out! Turn on this setting and students can move throughout the lesson on their own, without waiting for you to advance slides.

Charting A Course

It’s easiest to begin by writing out the beats of your story, along with the decisions your students will need to make along the way. I like to make a simple flowchart on paper, but you could do this in a Doc, or even directly in Slides. Be sure each of your decisions leads somewhere—either to another decision, or to an “ending.”

Choose Your Own Adventure

Set Up Slides

Now that you know where your story is going, start creating a Slide for each piece of your story, and adding decisions. Don’t worry about providing instructions yet (like “go to Slide 12”), just get all the pieces in place. That way, you won’t have to change numbers if you add or remove Slides.

Peary is going on summer vacation!

Mapping It Out

Now, you just need to add the “page numbers” for your students. Looking at the Slide thumbnails on the left, you can see the number assigned to each Slide. Using these, go through and add instructions to each of your choices, like this.

Fun in the sun!

Adding Interactivity

Don’t forget, you can still use Pear Deck’s interactive questions! In our example, maybe we’d make our last slide a drawing prompt for what Peary did at the beach, or we could insert a number question about how many miles away the nearest ocean is from our school. You could even use a text question to prompt collaborative storytelling (“What ending do you think would result from your choices?”) or ask a student to reflect on their journey (“Do you think you made the right decisions? What would you do differently next time?”).

Present Your Deck

Finally, you’re ready to present to your class! Remember to launch your session using the Present button in the Pear Deck sidebar. Once you’ve got your presentation up and running, click the three-dot menu, then Turn On Student-Paced. Your students will be able to navigate through your slides on their own, making decisions and answering any questions you’ve given them.

Extra Credit: Choose OUR Own Adventure!

Your students don’t have to fly solo! To make this into an activity for the whole class, add a Multiple Choice question to each “decision” slide. Then, present your lesson without turning on Student-Paced Mode. Whenever you encounter a choice, give students a moment to vote on the outcome, then advance to the slide they chose. This is a great way to engage in some collaborative storytelling as a group. Happy adventuring!

This weeks blog post was written by Pear Deck graphic designer, Kate Moore.

Kate Moore