create a draggable pile in google slides

One fun thing to do with Google Slides is to give students a template where they can drag things around on the “canvas.” As a math teacher, I like students to use a pile of dots to represent their math.

alice matt workshop

Join Alice Keeler and Matt Miller in Indianapolis April 20th and April 21st. See all events at

Create Google Slides

Create a Google Slides with a blank layout. You can add images to the background or the Slide Master. Images on the background or Slide Master are locked down, making it easier when dragging items on the slides “canvas;” the background image can not accidentally be moved.

Off Canvas

I like to create my objects “off canvas.” Use the View menu and choose 50%. This reveals a lot of space that is not the slide “canvas” itself.
View 50%

Draw a shape or insert an image off canvas. If you want a stack of bears use the Insert menu and choose “Image.” Choose the last option “Search” and search for bear. Switch from “All files” to “Clip art” and choose your clip art bear. Resize and move off canvas.
create a clip art bear

To draw a pile of dots, use the shapes icon in the toolbar and choose circle. HOLD DOWN THE SHIFT key and draw a circle off canvas.

Control D

You will want to duplicate the shape or image. Select the object and use Control D to duplicate. You want to make it seem to be an infinite pile so make several duplications. You do not want too many though because they all have to load when you open up Slides and if you went crazy with duplicated items it can cause it to lag.
duplicate the bear

Select the Group

Select the collection of duplicated items. This is called “lassoing.” Put your mouse in the upper left of the group of objects. Hold down the mouse and draw a rectangle around the objects to select them all at once.
lasso and select the bears

Arrange Menu

Use the Arrange menu to choose “Align horizontally” and choose “Center.” While the objects are still selected, choose “Align vertically” and choose “middle.” Poof, a pile of draggable objects. While the whole pile is still selected you can drag the pile to a location on “canvas” or slightly “off canvas” so students can locate the pile.
align horizontally

Duplicate the Slide

To give students multiple canvases to try different problems, duplicate the whole slide. This duplicates the draggable pile you just made.

Try for an example of draggable objects.


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017