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Game Shows in the classroom

other, level: all
Posted Mon Mar 22 21:49:32 PST 1999 by Jo Anne Martin (mrs.martin@juno.com).
Materials Required: paper, pencil
Activity Time: About 20 mins per game
Concepts Taught: Characters/Feelings/Fact/Nonfact/Writing details/Vocab
March 22, 1999
I had a great Spring Break! I watched a lot of the GAMESHOW channel. I am so
hooked on those old game shows. I have figured out how to incorporate my
shows in my classroom lessons.
Characterization/ Fact and Nonfact
To Tell the Truth: After studying a topic such as George Washington, and learning
many facts. Select 3 students to convince the class that they are the real George
Washington. They must know their stuff, or bluff their way through the extensive
questioning of the classmates. One sample question might be: What river did you
make your famous crossing? The class will then decide whom the real George
Washington is based on the answers of the 3 Georges.
Jeopardy: Answer - "Crossed the Delaware" Question - Who is George
This is also good for Main Idea questioning: Who, What, When, Where, Why or
To get students to write MORE!
The Groucho Marx Show
Tell your students that you have a secret word. Then give them a topic. Tell them
the more details and description they write the better chance of writing the
secret word. The ones who write the secret word will get a prize (candy, extra
computer time, free morning work card, etc.)
Play Password (partners give a one word clue (synonym) to describe the vocab
word on the notecard)
100, 000 Pyramid: Give descriptive sentences to help a partners guess the
correct vocab word.

Wheel of Fortune: A form of Hangman. Can be used with characterization clues

and vocab.
Math / Prediction
The Price is Right: Higher / Lower
Put prices in order
Buy, Don't Bust over $20
Close activities / Main Idea / Inferencing / vocab
Match Game: Sample - George Washington helped the colonists gain their
independence from Britain. He was so _____________________ , he became the first
president of the United States. Possible answers: popular, well liked, famous,
respected, trusted
Characters / Feelings / Relationships
The Newlywed Game: How well do the characters know each other? Partners will
pick a character to represent. The Host will ask a series of questions to see which
partners know each other the best. Sample:
Charlotte and Wilbur (Charlottess Web), The boy and the rabbit (Velveteen
Rabbit), Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, etc. . .
Facts Review
Tic Tac Dough: Use teams to review facts. When a team answers a question
correctly, they will receive either an X or an O. The first team to get 3 in a row
Fact / Nonfact
Hollywood Squares: A student is given a topic. If s/he knows about it, s/he will
state facts. If not, s/he will bluff. The other students will decide whether
statements made are fact or not.
If you know of any more, or have better ideas, please let me know!!!
Jo Anne Martin

Im a big fan of readapting game show formats for teaching because the more raucous and
entertaining the class, the more students feel compelled to attend and participate.
The basic truth behind this is that competition and game-playing are extremely conducive to
language learning. Students must use language they have acquired in a personal context
while undertaking a meaningful task. From an educational perspective, competition should

be seen as a virtue; something which facilitates active learning and improves the quality of
So, heres lesson plan I put together based on what was once a hugely popular British game
show. My apologies if this is a bit old hat for you, but it is a classic after all.
Blind Date

Blind Date was a Saturday night show that lasted throughout the 90s on UK television. In it
contestants had to ask a panel of 3 contenders, who were hidden behind a screen, 3 questions
and then decide who to take with them on a date. Example of the type of question and
Q. I really like dining out. If you were a type of food, what food would you be?
A. I would be a curry because Im hot and spicy! [audience goes whooooo!!!]
A. I would be a hamburger because I like a man with some meat. [audience goes
A. I would be ketchup because Ill get saucy with you!!! [audience goes whooooo!!!]
And so it goes on like this for 2 more questions.
To warm up the class, pre-empt the concept by getting every student to ask the person next to
them 3 simple open-ended questions, i.e. not implying yes or noanswers.
Bring the talking to a halt after a couple of minutes and give everyone five minutes to write
down3 dating questions. Model some examples on the board. Ideas could include:
Q1. What do you look for in a boyfriend / girlfriend?
Q2. What is your most attractive quality?
Q3. What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for someone?
Then split the class into 2 groups; males and females, and ask the girls to leave the room.
Choose 3 volunteers from the men and have them get up and sit on stools already placed on

Go to the girls room and pick one volunteer to be the main contestant. Bring her into the
main room but make sure the whiteboard or a suitable screen is situated between her and the
boys so she cannot see them.
Now bring all the girls back in, mix the audience up and begin the contest. Have the students
give their Q&As in big loud voices and you should encourage a fun, and even raucous,
Once they have finished its time for the girl to pick a lucky winner but before she does this an
announcer must do a recap for each of the contestants, finishing with the catchphrase The
choice is yours.
You prompt the student to make her choice but before she sees him, she must see the two she
turned down while the teacher exclaims How could you turn down X? The participants
should be removed one at a time to drag out the action and get audience sympathy for the
Next its the boys turn to leave the room. Continue as before
Language Points
The key goal behind this game is to have students expressing a range of emotions in an
entertaining and accessible context. The mismatch of numbers ensures constant competition
which creates the action, the tension, and the humiliation when someone is rejected.
In this class students get to activate their open questioning techniques using the present
simple tense and by using conditional questions for more advanced learners (such as If I
was to ask). Talking from behind a screen takes the non-verbal aspect of communication
totally out of the equation, thus Blind Date is a wonderful exercise for improving students
listening skills.
Another useful aspect of this class is that the announcer has to recap by summarising the
answers and qualities of each contestant back to the audience using reported speech.
Vocab to be covered in this class could include anything in relation to love, romance, dating
and relationships. As well as any target vocabulary you have recently been covering. The
questions do not necessarily have to relate to romance and dating you can use the format
equally well to cover topics like food and dining, a job interview, planning a vacation, etc.
Good luck and have fun!