Saturday, October 31, 2015

Creating Pixel Art in Microsoft Excel

A few years ago, I was looking for a way to introduce my 8th graders to Microsoft Excel that wasn't boring or overwhelming.  I love all the features of this program, but many times the kids felt like it was just "too hard".  In addition to creating some super short, step-by-step tutorials that could easily be completed in one class period each, I thought coming up with a "FUN" activity to start them off successfully would be good.

Enter Pixel Art!  After we do two quick lessons on the basics (each lasts for one 50 minute class), we launch into Pixel Art.  The lesson lets them create two pictures from a legend,using the Fill Color tool to color in their choices.  They learn some more basics (change cell width, how cells are organized, now to move around in the program, etc.) while they are doing this and then they create their own picture and a legend to go with it so that a classmate could re-create it.

My 8th graders absolutely LOVE this and many continue working on more pictures throughout the year in their free time when other work is completed.  

When we start working with formulas, these kids are okay with it and realize that Microsoft Excel doesn't have to be intimidating!  WIN - WIN.  Next week, they'll be working on researching and planning a vacation, using Microsoft Excel for their budget and I've had a few ask if they can illustrate it with some pixel art!  Can't wait to see what they produce.

If you're looking for ideas for right before Thanksgiving or Winter Break, these are fun activities that kids love, even if you aren't introducing Microsoft Excel right at that moment!  Take a look at Thanksgiving Pixel Art or Winter Holiday Pixel Art to get your kids excited to learn more about Microsoft Excel.