If you have no idea what a QR code crossword actually is then follow the link to see a PE revision crossword I made recently for a GCSE class on 1.1.1-1.1.3. If you like the idea and wondered how to go about making one for yourself then this is the post for you!

To begin with let’s actually discus the QR code itself. A QR code is basically a 2 dimensional bar code. It was invented not for public consumption but as a stock control mechanism for a Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 but since then it’s popularity has been increasing and now you can see QR codes nearly everywhere you look, in magazines, newspapers, product boxes even in TV ads. They can now include colour and pictures, they can even be of different shapes. There are a few structures that you need to be aware of in a QR code, these include the positioning markers ( the 3 squares on the outside) and the two lines of alternating black and white squares that join up the positional markers. When you start making your QR code crossword be really careful of these and try to avoid using them if at all possible.


Making a QR code

A QR code can contain any information that you want to include, this might be a web address, contact details or a simple message. There are many websites freely available that will allow you to make QR codes and just as many apps that have the function as well. What you need to know for this project thought is this: the more information that you have in the QR code the greater the total number of squares in the code. A basic message such as “Well done” needs a QR code that is 21 squares by 21 squares meaning it will have a total of 441 squares. If you want the Code to link to a website this can increase to a 29 by 29 square totalling 841squares! Bigger squares are possible but it starts to get a bit messy.

I also found that for ease of use having a generic message such as “well done” is a great way of starting and can be adapted to any crossword.

Once you have generated your QR code print it out and put a grid over the top of it.

This makes sure that you are accurate when transferring it later. I tried various different ways to produce a grid that I could then use as a QR code, the most effective was a table on a power point slide. I made the table 21 x 21 and then adjusted the height and width of the columns and rows so that the grid fitted on the slide. I then began the laborious task of transferring the QR code that I had printed off on to the grid on the slide. I knew I only had to do this once and then it could be saved as a master copy and honestly it didn’t take that long in the end. Once I had done this I saved it as the master copy and scanned it to check that it worked!

Now comes the fun part

To make it into a crossword you need to have some questions, 20 seemed a nice number and I decided that they needed to be true or false statements. I numbered the questions and put a corresponding number in a box in the grid. I made sure that I did not include any of the positional markers or the alternate black and white boxes mentioned above. I then went through the questions. If the statement was true I put that number on a black box and turned it white. If it was false it went in a white box. The idea being that any statements that are true the corresponding numbered box is coloured in, if it is false then that box is left alone. I tried scanning the code now and no surprises it would not scan because it was incomplete. I double checked that it worked, answered the questions, coloured in the appropriate boxes and re-scanned, the message “well done ” instantly popped up on the screen.


In a real setting, I gave the students the crossword and let them read the instructions and the questions. They quickly got to grips with what they had to do and within 10 minutes I had my first request for a scan. I scanned the code and showed them the message. It was a rewarding task for the students with instant feedback that they had got all of the questions right. Older students could of course scan the code themselves whilst revising at home and know if they had got the questions right or wrong. But not knowing what questions they might have answered wrongly was definitely a strength of the crossword.

Producing more

Now that I have the generic QR code for the message “well done” I can simply add new questions and move the corresponding boxes around giving me an amazing number of options. If you do want to make the code link to a specific URL please remember that it will be a one off and you will be completing the 800+ squares for that one URL only.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and can see the possibilities for the QR code crossword.

Leave me any questions and I will get back to you as soon as I can.>


2 thoughts on “Making a QR code crossword

  1. Pingback: Google on the Go | Google App Support

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