Friday 3 February 2017

Trapdoor and Cluedo

Trapdoor is one of those language activities which is really useful and very beneficial to learners, but which takes ages to explain!

The above is a simple version designed for lower Key Stage 2.  If you're doing one for Key Stage 3 or upwards, you could have three or four options each time.  Trapdoor is a pair activity which models good sentence structure, which will stand the children in good stead when they come to write their own sentences later.

You will need:
One copy of the grid for each child
Children organised into pairs


  1. Child A chooses an option from each pair, but doesn't tell Child B what they've chosen.  Let's say for example that in the top sentence Child A chooses Me gusta / la limonada / me encanta / la pizza.
  2. Child B starts to read the first sentence, choosing one of the options each time as they do so.
    "Me gusta el queso..."  Now Child B hasn't chosen the correct option from the second box, so Child A says "Trapdoor!".  Child B has to go back to the beginning and start the sentence again.
  3. Repeat the process until Child B can say both sentences correctly according to Child A's choices.
  4. Child A and Child B swap roles and begin the activity again.

Cluedo is a game which works along similar lines.  The above is an example of a Cluedo grid, which, again, can be as simple or as complex as you like.

This activity is teacher-led, at least to start with.  Children need to listen to each other and to you, and to think carefully about the answer.

You will need:
A copy of the grid on the whiteboard 
Optional: a mini-copy of the grid for children to use to help them

  1. The teacher chooses one option from each column, but doesn't tell the children.  I usually note my choices in my planner as I have been known to forget what I chose!  For example, let's say I've chosen boca / enorme / roja.
  2. The children take it in turns to guess your three choices by reading the whole phrase or sentence.  You can tell them how many parts they have got right, but not which parts.
    Child 1 says "una nariz pequeña y gris".  They have got no parts right so I say "Cero".
    Child 2 says "una oreja enorme y marrón".  They have one part right so I say "Uno".
  3. Keep going until someone works out all three parts and you are able to say "Tres".


  1. Brilliant! I might adapt these ideas on my next topic about home!

  2. I really like this game and think it would combine well with the PIN numbers idea, numbering each element to make it easier to check and harder to cheat. Also quicker than copying out whole sentences each time.

  3. This is a wonderful teaching strategy for students. It helps memory skills while repeating sentences over and over again.

  4. Nice. bit like the "Mastermind" game I play with my students.