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Learning Through Pixel Art: Turning Spreadsheets Into Gamified Experiences

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 20

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Highlands International School Mexico
Highlands International School Mexico
Highlands International School Mexico
Highlands International School Mexico
Highlands International School Mexico
Head of Innovation and Technology
Highlands International School.
Head of Innovation and Technology at Highlands International School, México. BA in Pedagogy, MA in Neuropsychology, MA in Educational Management by Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City. Apple Teacher Swift Playgrounds. Member of the Apple Professional Learning Community. Common Sense Educator.
Mathematics teacher
Highlands International School Mexico
Middle & High School Math teacher who passionately believes that Math does not have to be complicated. Bachelors degree in Mathematics at UNAM with a focus on Integer and Linear Programming, Operations Research, Education and Geometry. Through teaching, she strives to motivate her students and show them that math is fun and artistic. She currently teaches 6th, 10th grade and Statistics at Highlands International School in Mexico City.

Session description

See how middle school students followed computational thinking and logics to turn spreadsheets into interactive fun games for learning. Students will teach you how to create your own fun and randomized exercise by coding a spreadsheet.

Purpose & objective

Learning Data Science is essential in the XXIst century. It helps us to understand success and failure from the past and to predict the future to make decisions in the present. Data Science is a key competency needed to succeed in every career path and learning field.
Spreadsheets are the first step for understanding Data Analytics. Learning to use spreadsheets is essential for Middle School students to develop algorithmic thinking being able to manage Data.

Learn how Middle School students are becoming spreadsheets experts as they create games for learning. Students created automatized spreadsheets to make fun exercises for learning using pixel art and their academic knowledge.

First, students had to choose an artwork to turn it into pixels using spreadsheets. Later on, students have to understand and outline an specific topic to assess. Students had to code and program a list of exercises to automatize the correct answers with conditional formats to unleash certain pixels from the artwork they chose. If users have a correct answer after solving the exercises they will reveal the pixel artwork. If users have incorrect answers, the cell of the results will turn red and the pixel artwork will remain a mystery. Students will be able to see the complete pixel artwork whenever they every exercise correctly.

Our main purpose and objectives are:
To share with the audience how spreadsheets can be used to create fun games and exercises for learning.
To share how Technology is transforming the way students learn inside their classrooms.
To share how to develop computational thinking in middle school students.
To share with the audience student creations and proposals that contribute to a more fun way of learning.

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Students will present their own automated spreadsheet exercise and will share the process they followed to create them.

Time - each participant will be able to stay as long as they want in the stand to, but, in general, they will take about 5-10 minutes listen to how the project developed, the challenges faced, and to share ideas.

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Supporting research

Kong, S. Abelson, H. (2022) Computational Thinking Education in K–12: Artificial Intelligence Literacy and Physical Computing. The MIT Press. USA.

Wagner, T. (2015). Creating Innovators, The making of young people who will change the world. Scrivener, USA.

DK Publishing (2018) Helping Kids with Computer Science: a unique visual step by step guide to computers, coding and communication. DK. London

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Session specifications

Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level:
Skill level:
Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Excel, Google Sheets
Subject area:
Computer science, Math
ISTE Standards:
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
  • Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.