Many people use Google Sheets to add numbers, create a budget, keep track of items, etc. However, there is a creative way to use Google Sheets that even preschools can take advantage of…Pixel Art!

This idea was found from the Google Apps for Littles book by Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler, and can be applied to any grade level.  The idea is that you use conditional formatting to change the colors of the cells. When a certain number is entered into a cell, that cell turns the color that you designate. For example, based on the picture below, if the number 4 is entered in any cell, once you hit your return key, that cell will turn green.

You can make any color match any value within conditional formatting. Again, based on the picture, if the number 3 is entered into a cell, that cell will turn yellow. Other options are to turn a color based on a date, if the number is greater than something else, text starts with a certain letter, and many more.

This idea can be used for solving math problems, too, which in turn creates a pretty picture.

Teacher puts math problems inside the cells.

Students solve the math problems. If each problem is solved correctly, it makes a picture.

Students can even create their own math problem picture to give to another student to solve. **If you choose to do this, it is helpful for the students to create the picture first on a separate sheet, and then go back and set up the math problems. You can then hide the sheet with the picture, so that the other students don’t see it.

Below are the template links. The only difference between Alice’s and mine is that I added the color gray for number 10, as we needed it for the picture at the top. Remember that anything can be changed in the conditional formatting part of Google Sheets.

Alice Keeler’s Pixel Art Template

Kristie’s Pixel Art Template

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3 thoughts on “Google Sheets Pixel Art

  1. Hello, I love this activity. I would like to adjust it and use it for 6th grade to make a pixel art photo and then figure out the percent of each color. For higher level students, I’d like to give them the percent that certain items need to be. I made a copy of yours and was able to adjust the cells for higher level math questions than the add and subtract, but I wondered if you could explain how I can make this sheet with a smaller grid. I’d like to go about 14 by 10. Could you help me out with how to create the google sheet you did? Thanks. Denise

  2. Denise… to make the grid smaller you just need to delete any rows and columns. I think this grid is 20×20, so you’d need to delete 6 columns and 10 rows to make it work. Let us know if you have questions; we can do a virtual tech support session and answer them in person. Check out for details.

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