20 interactive PowerPoint activities to add awesome to classes

Microsoft EDU

Microsoft EDU | Thursday, August 20, 2020

20 interactive PowerPoint activities to add awesome to classes

20 interactive PowerPoint activities to add awesome to classes
20 interactive PowerPoint activities to add awesome to classes

PowerPoint lets students collaborate and display ideas effectively. Create animation, story books, video galleries and more. Here are 20 ideas for using PowerPoint in your classroom.

At one point, creating a PowerPoint presentation to show to the class was cutting-edge classroom technology.

Those days are gone, and now, online presentations enable so much more for students.

PowerPoint opens this classroom staple up to vast possibilities. With real-time collaboration and the ability to embed presentations in websites, students can do so much more than "make a presentation."

Here are 20 interactive activities to harness the power of PowerPoint in your classroom. 

1. Play Snapchat Games

When I first saw some of these Snapchat games — specifically Would You Rather,” “This or That,” and “My Face When,” I immediately thought of how it could be used in class! How much fun would it be to play these games with class content?!? 

If you want to play the games on the app, there’s a roadblock: having an account, having a device and being of age to use the app. What we really want is the experience of the games, not necessarily the app. You can do that with PowerPoint!

2. Make infographics

Infographics are very visual ways of transmitting information. The verbal/visual mix makes them very brain-friendly. They can be great ways for students to demonstrate learning. How can we make them -- and make them efficiently? Plus, how can we make them look good? Watch this Global Ed Tech Academy session to see how you and your students can make infographics, save time, and have fun!

3. Create an Instagram story

I’ve thought about how cool it would be to show what Juliet’s Instagram story would look like after Romeo dies in Romeo and Juliet. Or how cool it would be to show a science lab with an Instagram story.

We don’t need the app to create the experience! You can use this template to recreate the fun of instagram stories with PowerPoint!

Instagram Stories template

4. Make an "app" with PowerPoint

Hyperlinking images to slides within a PowerPoint presentation gives kids a fun opportunity to create an "app". 


This "Phone App" template from Slides Mania has an already created app like user experience. Have your students use it as an example for creating their own from scratch!

5. Create Interactive "Choose Your Path" Activities

One of PowerPoint's hidden superpowers is slide linking -- make a link to a different slide. This enables lots of cool classroom activities, like choose your path stories, creating new endings, guided instruction, and more. Learn how to set them up -- and get some pre-created templates to get you started.

6. Try an EduProtocol

 An EduProtocol is a way to design lessons where the content changes but the way you teach it (and your students learn it) stay the same. These aren’t stale, dry lesson plans … they’re the kind your students will BEG for and will stay fresh all year. It’s an idea from The EduProtocol Field Guide by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo (Amazon affiliate link). Try one of the ideas below out or get a copy of the book!

7. A twist on student collaboration

Use PowerPoint to collaborate with a class outside of your district, state or even in a different country! Combine with Flipgrid Gridpals or connect with classes through Skype.

8. Brainstorm with PowerPoint sticky notes

Sticky notes in PowerPoint makes brainstorming easy! The sticky notes stay in place. Students can open the PowerPoint file any time and none of the slides have fallen off the wall or been moved around.

They can have unlimited sticky notes -- in unlimited colors! And they can add images, videos, icons, arrows, and more to their sticky note board. Click here to download the PowerPoint template!

Google Slides sticky note brainstorming: Powerful planning

9. Create a shared presentation

This is one of my top five go-to techy classroom techniques. It's easy, it's quick and it connects students' work. Create a PowerPoint presentation and then create a slide for every student in the class. Share the presentation with students and assign each student a slide number. Students can use it as a quick "do now" activity, as an exit ticket or other types of formative assessment. They can also use the search when inserting images to find a picture relevant to the topic at hand. 

10. Animate with PowerPoint

This is a great hack (i.e. non-traditional use) of PowerPoint that could take some time to complete but yield amazing results. Check out this video, where the creators made an impressive animation with PowerPoint just by clicking through the slides quickly.

Get the tools, the practical ideas, and the inspiration to transform the way you use technology in the classroom!

  • Lesson ideas and downloadable templates
  • A companion webpage full of FREE resources  (click here to access NOW)
  • Brand new PIRATE engagement hooks
  • Encouragement and motivation to start
tech like a pirate 3d cover

11. Annotate an image

Students can label parts of an image that they know, find relevant or think are interesting. Use arrows and text boxes (or arrow shapes!).


Add text boxes next to the arrows to describe what the arrows are pointing to. This is where students will show what they know, what they find interesting, etc. You'll want to change the background color of the text box if it's transparent (use the paint bucket icon at the top after you've clicked on the text box).


Get the PowerPoint template here.

12. Write storybooks

With Creative Commons photos at their disposal, students can create great storybooks using Google Slides. Find these images by inserting an image and clicking "Search," or go directly to search.creativecommons.org to copy and paste images over. (Make sure they're giving attribution and a link to the original image!) Images can drive the story or vice versa. Students write and create, and when finished, they can share their storybooks or embed them in a class website.

story icon

13. Make vocabulary come alive

Turn vocabulary lists into an engaging, meaningful learning activity with slides and images. By inserting images students can illustrate their vocabulary lists with beautiful Creative Commons images. Connections in the brain with new words are stronger if they're paired with an image. Those presentations can be displayed for class or saved for personal study.

14. Safely blog in the classroom

Blogging is a useful reflective activity that can generate a lot of online conversation among students. A quick, simple version of blogging can be created in a Google presentation. Create a shared presentation, and have students write a short "blog post" in their slide. They can even add images When complete, students can read each other's writing and write comments on them using the comment button in the toolbar. Conversations stay grouped together when students reply to each other using the "reply" button. This creates a meaningful conversation with very little prep time.

Student blogging

15. Take virtual tours with Google Earth

Virtual tours with Google Earth: Google Earth's street view is a visually stunning experience, giving users a first-person view of life from the streets of cities around the globe. Google Earth is great for giving virtual tours, but there's a simpler and faster version of it. Take screenshots of scenes from Google Earth and paste them in a PowerPoint presentation! Add a title and/or some text description. With lots of slides, a virtual tour can happen quickly and meaningfully.

16. Try Caption This! with PowerPoint

When students can take the place of the person in the image, it helps them see what's happening in a whole new light.

caption this template

  • Select a picture that either introduces your current lesson focus or is key to your subject for the lesson and let students caption it.
  • Add a thought bubble or speech bubble. Give students a prompt for filling in the bubble, or give them freedom!
  • When they're done, have students turn the image in to you via Teams  (or however you collect digital work).

Get the PowerPoint template here.

17. Create video galleries

Sometimes, a quick video is all it takes to make an idea clear. Students can find useful videos on YouTube allow students to download their Flipgrid videos and embed those videos in a presentation to create a collection of visual ideas. Insert a YouTube video by inserting an online movie. Add a downloaded Flipgrid video by inserting video from file.


18. Share screencast videos

PowerPoint is the key that makes for great screencast videos. (Screencast = recording video of your screen with audio from a microphone to create a video presentation.) Use a screencasting tool. Flipgrid's new screen recorder is the perfect way for students to share their screencasts!  Students can create a presentation in PowerPoint and then record themselves presenting it. Be sure to allow students to download their Flipgrid video so the video can be inserted into their presentation.


19. Create a PDF ebook

PDF files are about as universal as it gets. You can open them on almost any Internet-ready device. They're read-only, so publishing a PDF is a good way to distribute information to be consumed by reading. PowerPoint is a great, simple PDF ebook creation tool. Create a slide presentation, change it to the dimensions you prefer, add content and finalize by going to File > Save as ... > File format PDF Document.


20. Share learning in an interactive notebook

Interactive digital notebooks can be used in all subject areas and in almost any grade level. Use this template to give your students a blank space to get creative with their own notes. Or create and share any of the TONS of awesome multimedia activities you can do with interactive notebooks. They’re easy and free! Get the PowerPoint template here.

interactive notebook preview image

More interactive PowerPoint resources!

30+ free powerpoint education templates plus how to make your own

PowerPoint education templates create meaningful interactive activities for students. Find free templates and learn how to make your own.

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  • […] “20 Interactive PowerPoint Activities to Add Awesome to Classes” provide teachers with ways to spice up PowerPoint presentations. As Miller points out, PowerPoint was once considered to be cutting-edge classroom technology, but today’s students want something more interactive. Directions for how to incorporate these activities, including SnapChat games, infographics, and Instagram stories are provided, as well as information as to how best to use these ideas in a virtual classroom setting.  […]

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