This is a game for revising prepositions of place with an elementary level class. The game is available for download at the bottom of the page and includes everything needed to print and play.

Before playing the game I used a quick matching activity to revise the vocabulary from the previous lesson. Students worked in pairs to draw lines and match the words to the pictures. This could also be used to pre-teach the vocabulary before playing the game.

matching game picWorking in pairs, students are given the aquarium picture cards and asked to spread them out on the desk in front of them. They are then given the stack of description cards face down.

IMG_0069Students take the first description card, read it together and then find the aquarium picture that matches the description. They put the matched cards to one side.

IMG_0071Students continue to match the descriptions to the pictures while the teacher monitors. If a match is correct the teacher should flip the picture cards under their descriptions so they are hidden, face down.

Edited 02When the students have finished they will have nine description cards in front of them with each card’s matching picture face down underneath. This is the first half of the game. It acts as a quick ‘reading for gist’ activity as the students are able to differentiate between the pictures based on vocabulary, positioning and the process of elimination.

Edited 03Once the students have finished matching up the descriptions they are given their own aquarium card with cut-out sea-life. They will use these cards to recreate the aquarium pictures from the first part of the game by following the descriptions. This is the core part of the game.

Students re-read the first description and follow the directions on the card, moving the pictures into place. When they think they have the correct answer they can check the picture underneath.

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Students continue until they complete all of the cards. Now that they have to follow the descriptions exactly, the process is slower and requires a greater level of cooperation than the first reading task.

Early finishers are given paper to write their own descriptions for the game. These can be used for a follow up activity, as students read their descriptions and their partners use the aquarium cards to match the description. As another follow up, students could draw their own version of an aquarium and write a description using the language structures from the game.

I used this game in two lessons yesterday and students really enjoyed it. I was cautious about using a game with a lot of reading with younger students, but the puzzle element kept them motivated throughout. All of the students wanted to keep playing until they were finished. They also seemed to enjoy the tactile nature of moving the small pictures into place. A couple of the boys preferred to take turns being in charge, rather than fully cooperating, but overall it was an absolute success and a game I will be returning to in the future.

To download the two Powerpoint documents click here and click here. The vocab matching activity can be copied directly from the first image.

The vocabulary used in the descriptions of the game include: middle, top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right, on, under, above, next to, between, in front of and behind.

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