Who is the Imposter?

by Ariel Jankord

There is an imposter in Google Slides, watch out! Today with my 5th grade remote learners we learned about the barriers for women, and more specifically women of color, during the 1960s at NASA. We then read an article about Katherine Johnson. The article from Newsela was followed by questions. Sounds like a typical lesson, right?


You see, my friend had just told me last week about an idea she had come across... First, you prepare reading material, check! Then you write the questions, check! Lastly, you put students in groups and make one of them an imposter. Wait, an imposter? The imposter’s job is to answer incorrectly and even change correct answers to wrong answers.

Two reasons this is genius: 1) It gamifies learning for students turning a game they love into a learning exercise. 2) The activity requires close reading and a lot of double checking. These are two skills most students loathe.

Here are the details on how I managed this in my remote learning classroom: I created the slides that included both the article and questions (you could have the article elsewhere). I then made a copy of the slides for the number of groups I needed for my class and renamed them Group 1, Group 2, etc. In Google Classroom, I assigned 3-4 students a copy of the Slides, giving them editing rights. (I later realized 3 students was too small of a group, 4-5 students would be an ideal group size.) In Zoom, I sent a private message to one person from each group letting them know they were the imposter. Then I broke the class into breakout rooms with their groups. When they thought they knew who was the imposter they called me to their breakout room. They sent me a private message with their guess. If they were correct, I let them know they were now the imposter. I also notified the imposter they had been caught and are no longer the imposter.

Google Slides allows them to see who they are collaborating with and they can see which slides their teammates are on. This is similar to the game Among Us, where you can see others in the different rooms as they complete tasks. The Zoom breakout rooms allow them to chit chat and act “sus.”

The kids had a blast and they begged me to do it again the next time I see them!