Number one for English language teachers

Team games: 'Board relay race' and 'True or false'

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

A team warmer for brainstorming and an amusing icebreaker exercise.

Board relay race

This isn't my idea, this game's been around for ages. But I didn't see it on the website, so...


  • Split the board into two - four columns.
  • Split students into a corresponding number of teams. Each team lines up in front of their column, a few metres back. Each team has a pen/stick of chalk.
  • T calls out a category that s/he wants the Ss to brainstorm. Ss have 2 minutes (or whatever) to write all the words they know in that category (e.g. "has more than 2 eyes", "is a modal verb", "contains the sound /v/", etc).
  • S who is first in line runs to board, writes word, runs back to line, gives pen to next S in line and then goes to back of line (i.e. relay). The teams are playing against each other (i.e. race). When time is up, T reviews spelling (if important) with Ss, totals points to declare the winners, and then starts the lesson.


  • If the Ss keep copying other teams, then at the end strike out all the words that are duplicated across teams. They'll soon learn it pays to be original!
  • This description above is for brainstorming new vocab, but it's also great for reviewing a previous lesson.

True or False?

I use this when meeting a group for the first time. So I guess it's more an ice-breaker than a warmer, but it makes the students practise forming questions, forces them to be creative, and can lead to interesting discussion - so it can be used as a warmer.


  • T tells Ss they can each ask him/her a question, and s/he will answer it.
  • Each S asks a question, T answers it, and writes it on the board.
  • T lies a few times.
  • When finished, go through answers, asking each time whether the Ss think it's true or false.
  • To answer, Ss can put their hands up/keep them down; point to a 'true' sign/point to a 'false' sign; run to the 'true' (left) wall/run to the 'false' (right) wall; etc.
  • This is usually lots of fun; outrageous lies are often the best (e.g. "Are you married?" "Yes, I have six husbands." etc.)


  • Obviously, T needs to take cultural differences into account. The activity should be fun, not offensive.
  • The T has to feel comfortable giving out personal information. If some questions are too personal, s/he can always say: none of your business!

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Second game could be done between students, too. But one should restrict the questions...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hello Claudia,

    Great idea! Thank you for your suggestion.

    Best wishes and happy teaching!

    The onestopenglish team

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