Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
junior high school first year To have students consolidate specific words, phrases, sentences, or questions between themselves. Examples target colours + nouns, past progressive, can, and has/have to. any 10 to 50 mins Game-grid worksheets, (OHP master-grid also possible)

Rainforests is a variant of Battleships. One player asks or says a target sentence/question, and their opponents respond with information regarding the accuracy of their 'shot'. The difference is the response, and the fact that pictures of life forms are used instead of warships. This is a most versatile activity, which can be adapted to your needs at will. Teach: numbers (in word form); difficult letters (l + r, d + b, p + q...), tense, even 'to' infinitive. As in Battleships, be sure that the students have learnt the grammar point(s) you are targeting before the lesson. Rainforests, too, is best used as a consolidation and/or review tool.

To begin, give a brief explanation of how to play the game in simple English. Next, demonstrate how to play using the JTE as an opponent. Briefly practice the target words, phrases, and responses with the entire class in chorus. Have the class form groups of four, and assign names to each team. Distribute one game-grid to each group, and give them a time limit (say, 5 mins) in which the group members must fill in the squares of their grid with the list of life forms: 1 Earth, 10 Trees, 5 People, and 5 Animals. This means that they fill in 21 of their 36 squares.

Each group begins the game with 250 points. The first group begins by targeting an empty square on their grid and vocalising the sentence/question which corresponds to that square. Teams which have a picture in that square must subtract the value of that life form from their total (a blank square loses zero points). After 20 seconds, teams which have lost a life form must make the sound of that life form dying. E.g.: Animal = dog howling, Tree = 'Timber' shouted as loud as possible, A Person = scream or dying noise (Aaahhhh!), The Earth = Atomic bomb explosion. Rotate round the class, giving one shot to each group whether they score hits or not. After a couple of laps compare scores to decide your winners.

Teaching Tip

Whenever you have team activities, assign names. This gives each group a sense of identity, and can set the tone of the lesson. I use Japanese names of insects and food, as it saves time explaining what things are, but in elementary school why not take the time to teach the English equivalent. My favorites are: Gokiburi = Cockroach; Kamakiri = Praying Mantis; Semi = Cicarda; Tororo = sticky white vegetable pulp; Natto = 'you know'; Shimotsukare = you'll find out; Onara = Fart.

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