Number one for English language teachers

Grammar activities: Hidden pairs

Level: Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

A great game for revising irregular verbs.

This game is popular with children and teenagers. The aim of the game is to find irregular verb pairs by memorizing their positions in a grid on the board. This format can be adapted to suit any level and any types of pairs, e.g. compound nouns, phrasal verbs and opposites.

Procedure

  • Before playing the game make a list of eight pairs of irregular verbs and give each verb a different number from 1 - 16.Keep this as your teacher's copy.

Example

go(1) - went(7)      drink(14) - drank(9)      eat(3) - ate(16)      come(8) - came(15)

drive(11) - drove(2)      sleep(10) - slept(4)      write(13) - wrote(6)      see(5) - saw(12)

  • Draw a large grid on the board, 4x4 with sixteen squares. In the corner of each square write the numbers from 1 to 16 in order, one number in each box. Explain to the students that there are eight pairs of hidden verbs in the grid and that the aim of the game is to find them all.
  • Ask a student to choose a number from the grid on the board. For example - 4. Number 4 corresponds with the verb slept in your teacher's copy. Write the verb in the correct square and then rub it out making sure you leave the number 4 in the corner (at this point you should have the attention of the whole class!).
  • Ask the next student in line to choose another number and repeat the previous procedure. If the square chosen is one of a pair e.g. sleep (10) they must then give you the correct number of its partner (number 4 - slept) in order to win a point. When a student makes a pair do not rub out the words but put a line through them so that the students can then see which squares are left available.
  • Continue asking each student in the class to give you one number until all the pairs have been found. You may need to remind students that they mustn't shout out the answer if its not their turn!

Note:

It's a good idea to have two lists of pairs ready because once the students get the hang of it they usually want to play it again. Have fun!

Variations

This activity can be varied and adapted to suit everyone. The grid can be made smaller or bigger depending on class size and level and it can also made be played as a team game. As an extra activity, students can be given time to create their own hidden pairs for lessons to come.

Young learners - family hidden pairs:

  • Grandma - Grandad
  • Mother- Father
  • Brother - Sister

etc. it can also be done by matching picture pairs of any category.

All levels - opposites verbs or adjectives:

  • stop - go
  • laugh - cry
  • short - tall etc.

Elementary - advanced adults:

  • Compound nouns and phrasal verbs

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