This childhood board game can easily be adapted for use in the language classroom.

Jo Budden


  • Either copy a battleships board for each student or, to save photocopying, just get them to copy a board onto some scrap paper or in their notebook.
  • The reason for putting the vowels and the numbers 14, 40, 15, 50 etc is that they are the letters and numbers that students generally make mistakes with. If the problem letters or numbers are different for your learners, change them on your board.
  • Select a group of words you want your students to practise and write them on the board. Ask your students to choose ten to write anywhere they like on their battleships board.
  • Students work in pairs facing one another, without looking at each other’s boards to ask questions to find the words. E.g. ‘Is there anything in E, 40?’ If there is, they get a ‘hit’ and ask their partner what word they found. If there was nothing in that square they get a ‘miss’ and carry on.
  • To make it harder, when students hit the words and find them they have to spell the word out to their partner and say what it means, or put it into a sentence, in order to get the point.
  • The first student to find all ten hidden words is the winner.
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