Board games like Snakes and ladders add the element of fun to the English classroom and are a very useful way to develop more effective classroom dynamics.

Author: 
Arizio Sweeting

I've adapted this Snakes and ladders game to give learners an opportunity to discuss cultural differences between countries.

Preparation

Before my lesson, I modified the typical game board so that it could give my learners an opportunity not only to make comments but also to interview other people in the class.

On the game board I alternated the words in the squares between ask and tell and drew a few snakes randomly along the board. I decided to get rid of the ladders since I thought the board would look far too crowded.

Then, I created two game cards, an ask card and a tell card, using different colour card. 

I also needed dice and counters.

Procedure

I'd recommend demonstrating to the learners what to do to make sure they know the rules of the game, particularly because my group had never played a Snakes and ladders game before.

Tell your learners that they must throw the dice and move their counter the appropriate number of squares. If the counter lands on an ask square, the learner must pick up the ask card, select one question and use it to interview as many people as they like in the group. If the counter lands on a tell square, the learner needs to select one topic from the tell card and talk about it for approximately one minute.

The game goes on in this manner until someone reaches the finish square.

However, if a counter lands on a snake's head, the learner must move their counter down the snake's body to its tail and then follow the new instruction, i.e. ask or tell.

While my learners were playing the game, I took notes of their comments and wrote them on the board, fixing some linguistic problems, to use at the end of the activity.

At the end of the activity, I asked the learners to read the comments on the board and decide which country they think those comments referred to.

Finally, I asked the learners to talk to each other and, using the same comments, discuss whether these customs would apply to other countries, like Great Britain or Australia.

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Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2

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