Blockbusters: a TV Quiz Show Game in the Classroom

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Class/Grade/Language Level: All, can adjust for low or high academic classes

Textbook and specific lesson: None

Goal: work as a team to solve word clues/puzzles

Preparation: a list of words File:Blockbusterswordlist.docx

Class Time: Varies, Low academic = 45-50 mins. High academic = 25-30 mins

Draw a 5 x 5 grid on the board and fill it with all the letters of the alphabet, except X, in random order, as in the diagram here. File:Blockbustersgameboardex.docx

Divide students into 2 teams and write an A and a horizontal arrow at the left side of the grid to indicate that Team A are going across, a B and a downwards-facing arrow at the top to indicate that Team B are going down.

Team A have to get a horizontal line across e.g. U-J-A-T-E to win. Team B have to get a vertical line down to win. They will of course get in each other’s way as they do this so it doesn’t have to be a straight line; it just has to be connected e.g. Team A could go U-J-I-P-H-Q-G. (The connected squares must be above, below or to the side, not in a diagonal relationship to each other)

Team A picks a letter. They would usually start in the furthest left column but they can begin anywhere they like. The teacher just has to think of a word beginning with that letter and a short and simple way to explain it:

For A you might think of ‘artist’ and say ‘for example, Picasso’.

For F you might think of ‘forty’ and say ’20 + 20’.

For K you might think of ‘king’ and say ‘the queen’s husband’.

In the grid above, imagine Team A has picked ‘F’ and the teacher has said ‘it’s a sport’. Either team can answer. It’s simply a matter of the first person to shout it out. If team A says ‘football’ first, they win and get to pick the next letter- logically ‘B’ for them. If Team B wins they get to pick the next letter – logically ‘V’ for them as they work their way down. However, as before, with each new question, either team can answer and change the direction of the game.

If students don’t get an answer immediately keep giving further clues or even start spelling it out on the board. If it’s too hard for them, then change to another easier word starting with that letter. If it’s too easy and students are flying through the game too quickly throw in a long, hard word or give cryptic explanations for simple words. One of my favorites for ‘V’ is ‘Everyone has one, though you can’t see it’ (Answer: Voice)

As you go along, the teacher must fill in the squares to show each team’s progression, e.g. with an ‘X’ over the letter. If possible use different coloured markers; if not indicate the difference in teams by a different pattern in each square e.g. Xs vs. Os. Continue like this until one team has made a fully connected line, however convoluted, all the way across or down.

Though of course the scope is endless and it’s easy just to think of words as you go along, you want to avoid words that are hard to explain like ‘make’ or ‘truth’ or ‘since’ or ‘only’. Simple action verbs and concrete nouns are best. Here are some suggestions