Bringing Gunma together, one cabbage at a time.

Making A Slot Machine PowerPoint

Spicing up lessons with fresh elements is always a good way to keep things interesting, especially something that keeps the students on their toes and adds an element of randomness. For this, I have been making slot machine PowerPoints that have prepared speeches with parts blanked out to be selected at random.

I had a wonderful, mad teacher at the start of the year that came to me with this idea. She knew that I had the technical ability to pull it off and asked me to find a way. With a bit of googling I worked it out and I would like to share with you how you too can make your own using a standard copy of PowerPoint (I’m using office 2019 for reference)!

First, create a new blank PowerPoint.
Write down what you want the students to say, leaving blanks for the random elements.

Block out all the areas that will NOT show the random answers with rectangles (I have used color to illustrate how I have done this but I think having all the shapes be one color is best as it is less distracting).

Once that is done, group it all together (select all [Ctrl-A] < right-click < group). This new object will be our mask for the rotors.

Insert a crossed-wheel shape from the shapes menu. Add in a textbox at the edge of each quarter and type in what you want for this rotor (rotate text with the curly rotate handle on the textbox). When you are done, group the shape and four text boxes together just like we did with the mask.

Copy the rotor, making one for each blank space you have. Click to enter the group and change the text for each one. You can change the colors of the rotors as well by clicking on the crossed circle and choosing a color in the options.

Next, make plain boxes that are the same color as your backdrop (one less than the number of rotors you will have).

Layer the rotors, boxes, and mask so the topmost rotor is at the bottom, followed by a box, then the next rotor, box, etc. with the top layered object being the mask.

Line up the wheels with the holes in the block and use the boxes to block out the rotor from being seen through the other boxes.

Make a button for each wheel and a little off-screen box. It’s best if the onscreen buttons are labeled to make our lives a bit easier later.

Next, we will set up the animation to spin the rotor indefinitely with the click of the button until the button is pushed again. To make the rotor stop we will use the off-screen box — animating it off-screen will stop the spinning animation.

To do this, move the mask out of the way to get to the rotors. Then select the rotor you want to animate and add a “spin” animation to it.

Then enter the timing menu with the little arrow next to “animation” in the animation window.

Set it to spin until the next click and set the trigger to be the box you want to spin this rotor (this is why we labeled them earlier).

Now set up one of the off-screen boxes to appear with the click of the same button, just like we just did with the rotor. Set up every other rotor and button the same as the one we have just set up. Remember to put the mask back after.

Position everything how you’d like, decorate and enjoy. To use, click the button to spin the rotor and click it again to stop it.

This is a very basic version, so have fun experimenting with things like more answers or pictures on a rotor. I hope it works for you as well as it has for me. You can use these for lots of different grammar points. My favorite use is for teaching basic self-intros. You can put in some fun character names and hobbies to make for some entertaining practice. Enjoy!

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