Noughts and crosses quiz game

This warmer or end-of-lesson game is often very popular with teenagers although it can be used with both younger learners and adult groups as well.

Kevin Thomson


You will need to have prepared at least three questions for each of the nine categories. You can download some sample questions suitable for pre-intermediate learners below.


  • Draw a noughts and crosses grid on the board, for example:
    sport opposites food


    geography music cinema
  • Divide the class into at least three different teams and write a symbol on the board to represent each team, for example:
    Team 1 = X
    Team 2 = 0
    Team 3 = $ 
  • Establish the rules of the game clearly:
    1. The aim is to get three boxes in a row either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
    2. If a team answers a question correctly, they get another question.
    3. If a team answers wrongly, the question is passed on to the next team.
    4. Each team should appoint a captain to announce the answer to the questions.
  • Pre-teach useful language which can be used during the game, for example: Could you repeat the question please? It's our turn. We give up.
  • Explain that when teams discuss the possible answers to their questions, they must do this in English.

Now you are ready to play!

I believe that the success of this noughts and crosses game depends on the teacher customising it so that the questions are interesting for their class. The secret is to know what your students are interested in and to ask questions about these fields of interest. It is also important that questions are not too easy or too difficult. Personally, I mix language awareness questions (often revision of what we have studied) with general knowledge questions. I feel that this adds more spice to the game and allows students to show their knowledge of other fields, not just English. However, the different categories can vary according to the teacher's personal preferences.

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