Activity: Language Game

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Area: Language Arts and Literature
Grade Level: High School & Beyond, Middle School, Primary/Elementary School
Topics: Communication, Language, Words
Estimated Time Necessary: 45 minutes

Lesson Plan

Thinking about language and communication.
Students will think together about what goes into making a language, what words really are, and if there are differences between language and communication.

Materials Needed (samples are available in the lesson plan attachment above):

  • Pre-prepared cards with simple pictures on them
  • Pre-prepared sentences to give to students
  • Blank paper cut into card-shape sizes or blank index cards

Warm-Up Activity:

Write a sentence on the board that can have two different meanings. For example: “They don’t know how good meat tastes.”

Ask students to share what they think the sentence means. They may realize there are two meanings to this seemingly simple sentence. This will help them start thinking about how we use language and understand what we mean when we communicate.


  • Explain how the activity works.
  • Each students will get their own secret sentence which they will use cards to try to recreate in picture form.
  • In their small groups, their teammates will try to guess their sentence based only on the arrangement of cards.
  • After enough time has passed that every student has gotten a chance to create their sentence, pause from playing the game and talk about what made the game hard. Students might also offer suggestions for how to alter the activity to make communication better.
  • For the second round of play, students will be able to create their own sentences. They will also receive blank cards where they can draw their own images to try and help them communicate. Some students have drawn symbols like +, -. =, or ~. Some draw arrows, and some draw pictures they would like to incorporate into their sentences.

Wrap-up Discussion:

Ask the students to come up with their own questions about language or to think about questions they had while playing the game. Use those questions to have a discussion.

This lesson plan was created for PLATO by: Ruby Higashi, University of Washington.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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