Puzzle Race (JHS/SHS)

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Name of Teacher: Emily Taylor

Class/Grade/Language Level: JHS or SHS

Goal: Review warm-up activity that gets students moving

Preparation: Few minutes to prepare sentences for groups to unscramble

Class time: 10 min

This is a 10-minute warm-up similar to the “sleeping game” where, in teams, students must work together to rearrange words to form a sentence. However, you need a few minutes of prep work. Make 3 or so sentences for the groups to unscramble. On four, five, or six small pieces of paper (how many you use depends on the number of students per group – use five for five-person groups, etc) write one word from each sentence numbered #1, #2, #3. For example, if one of the sentences “I want to eat ramen,” those five words will be split across five sheets under #1. Each word is written on a different sheet. Before the activity, discretely tape up the pieces of paper around the room. Choose locations that prevent the students from seeing the words from their desks, for example, behind the TV or in the closet with the cleaning supplies. Divide the students into groups, assign each one a location (student #1 checks behind the curtain, #2 checks under the teacher’s desk, etc). When you say “Ready, go!” each group member rushes off to the assigned location to read and memorize the word. This is the most fun part, as you get to sit back and enjoy the chaos of several students from competing teams trying to squeeze into a narrow space all at once. In their group, the students arrange the words they memorized and try to be the first to write the correct sentence. Sometimes I require them to also translate it to Japanese. Another alternative is to have them put together a question, and then they have to write an answer to the question.

Note: Be sure they only look at one word at a time. I have three words per paper so I can do three sentences, and sometimes students misunderstand and try to memorize all three words at once.