Grade 5

Battleship Spreadsheet

Empowered Learner, Computational Thinker, Creative Communicator, Global Communicator


Innovator Eric Curts has coded this marvelous Google Sheets template to create a fantastic game of Battleship. It may be used to introduce students to useful tech skills such as how to share, use of revision history, locate specific cells and enter data. Your students will beg you to let them play this during indoor recess! Note that this activity can be taught in 30 minutes, but students will need additional time to play and complete a game.

Students will:

  • Be able to retrieve a file from a learning management system, e.g., Google Classroom (if one is used).
  • Be able to share out a file.
  • Learn to navigate a spreadsheet.
  • Be able to open a spreadsheet - enter data in the table/spreadsheet.
  • Be able to identify tabs for different pages on a spreadsheet, cells, rows, and columns.
  • Be able to use data to make informed choices.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Spreadsheet: A spreadsheet is an electronic document that organizes data into rows and columns. Calculations may be applied to the data and graphs generated.

  2. Row: A spreadsheet row is a range of cells going across horizontally and identified by numbers.

  3. Column: A spreadsheet column is a range of cells going across vertically and identified by letters.

  4. Cell: A spreadsheet cell is a specific field identified by both the row number and column letter.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • Go to this website and read the blog post by Eric Curts and retrieve the Battlesheets template. On the first sheet, there are directions on how to use the sheet to play the game. 

  • This is the direct link to the Battlesheet template. 

  • Once you open up the template you will need to make a copy by clicking on the file and then select make a copy.

  • Determine how you will share this template out to your students- they will need their own copies. This may be done through Google Classroom easily or post the website link that is set so students simply click on the make a copy button. 

  • Here is a tutorial video on how to set everything up and play. 

Tip: If students enter the wrong data and backspace, it may break the code for the cell. Warn students that if they don’t see the grid light up as a hit or miss then they will need to tell their partner the cell number and ask if it is a hit or miss.

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The teacher will set the learning goal and engage with a 1-minute video clip showing original Battleship and a tech-enhanced version, then a screenshot of the spreadsheet version.
  2. How has technology changed the game of Battleship? Is the old version a different game or is it still the same game? Why or why not? Connect to changes in technology that were creatively used to enhance the game experience.
  3. Explain how the class will play Battleship using something called a spreadsheet, and connect it to how technology is once again being used creatively for the game.
  4. The teacher explains that students will learn how to pick up a spreadsheet from Google Classroom, share it with a friend, identify spreadsheet pages, cells, rows, and columns, input data, and use the data to make informed choices. Alternatively if not using Google Classroom, the teacher may model where to find the link to make a copy of it.
  5. The students pick-up the spreadsheet from the learning management system. Students will be either player one or player two, and should not be sitting adjacent to one another or able to view the screen of the partner.
  6. The teacher will explain what the purpose of a spreadsheet is (spreadsheets can be used for simple calculations, lists, charts, and for making predictions through modeling).
  7. The teacher will have partner one share out the file to partner two. Explain that email addresses must be 100% accurate for this to work. Model this process screen by screen if it is the first time students are sharing, and explain the different permission levels. Permission levels should be set to edit for this activity. It is suggested that player two goes to player one and enters in the email address to minimize typos and move the lesson along.
  8. The teacher will model how player two can retrieve the file under the shared with me folder in Drive.
  9. The teacher will explain what the different pages are in the spreadsheet and how to navigate them by pressing the tabs. Have students switch tabs between the directions, player one, and player two to confirm they understand the navigation. Seat partners will check screens to ensure it is set to the designated page as a quick check for understanding.
  10. The teacher will explain what rows, columns and cells are. Using a projector, point to specific cells and quiz the class on correctly identifying the cell. Repeat this until it appears that students understand, then ask for a thumbs up/thumbs down to confirm. If any students are still unsure have seat partners assist with explaining while the class completes a few more cells to identify.
  11. Explain that player one will now set their tab to the player one page, and player two will set their tab to the player two page. Have seat partners check to ensure students are on the correct page.
  12. Explain that students will now have a few minutes to place their battleships. Model this by first pointing out which grid they are to use. Be careful to explain that students must use the correct number of designated letters for each ship, as the spreadsheet will not correct it if they enter too many cells for a ship. Also, alert students that the letters must be placed adjacent to one another and vertically or horizontally (not diagonally). Tell students to not look at their partner's spreadsheet page and peek, as that is a form of cheating. Provide a few minutes for students to place their ships. It is Ok if they do not all finish, but wait long enough and monitor the room to ensure all students understand how to input the values.
  13. Once most students have nearly completed placing their ships, model how player one uses an “X” to bomb player two. Model how a hit comes up as red (fill color is red), a miss comes up as black, and cells that are white have not been used yet. Model a few turns- you may need a student to be player two so you can model how to take turns. Explain that students will need to tell their partner when they sunk a ship, as the spreadsheet only indicates if it is a hit or miss.
  14. Discuss using the data of the hits and misses to make informed decisions and strategize.
  15. The students will begin to play. Monitor room and answer questions as students play.
  16. After several minutes of play, stop the class and revisit the learning goals to ensure students can identify rows, cells, columns, and tabs. Resume play.
  17. If time remains, player two can share out their file with player one and play again.
  18. Towards the end of the session, explain what the revision history is and how to set the spreadsheet back to the original state. Connect this to the same feature in Docs and how it is useful.
  19. Explain how to remove the shared partner from the spreadsheet and reiterate permission level explanations.
  20. Close with reviewing what the purpose of a spreadsheet is, how to input values, and identify the rows, cells and columns. Discuss how the spreadsheet was used to make an informed decision (strategy) during gameplay.  Discuss how technology was used creatively to provide the Battleship game for free for the classroom environment.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Students could complete a quick exit ticket. It is suggested that an online resource such as Kahoot, Google Forms, etc. is used for this. Students answer a couple of quick questions checking that the row, page number, cell number, and column is correctly identified.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Empowered Learner
1b. Understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.

Computational Thinker
5a. Formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
5b. Collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making.

Creative Communicator
6a. Choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
6c. Communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Global Communicator
7a. Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
7b. Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Battlesheets Template

Battlesheets Tutorial Video

Battleship Then and Now Video

Eric Curts Blog post on Battlesheets


Students are learning spreadsheet skills. 

This task card was created by Patricia Paxton, Armada Area Schools. June 2018. Updated May 2022.