In the School Cluedo ESL activity, students play a live-action version of Cluedo (Clue in North America) based around the school.
Prepare pieces of paper with the necessary words on them to act as the game cards; six people, six objects, and six rooms (reduced from nine in the original for time purposes). You can use the original words from the game, or even better, replace them with teachers, objects found around the school, and places around the school (e.g. classroom A, classroom B, reception, playground, corridor, sports hall).
Place one card from each category in an envelope. These cards represent the facts of the case.
In class, divide the students into six teams (or less teams with less than six students). Distribute the remaining cards evenly to the teams, who keep their cards secret.
- The teams must find out which teacher committed the murder, where, and with which object (which papers are in the envelope). They do this through a series of guesses and deductions, and can make notes as they wish.
- Instead of rolling the dice to move around the board into rooms (as in the original), in this version students all move together around the different places. In each place, each team rolls the dice and the three teams with the highest score get to make a guess relating to that place (for that round). The game works best if you can physically move with your students to the places around the school (take the envelope with you), but if not, assign a table in the classroom to each place.
- The three teams that make their guess do so using modal verbs of past possibility, e.g. It could/might have been John in the corridor with the textbook or I think John could/have done it in the corridor with the lamp. Each guess must include the room they are currently in.
- After each guess, the teams check their cards. If they can disprove a guess with a card in their hand, they put their hand up. Choose one of the teams with their hand up (try and vary the team disproving each time). This team says aloud That can’t have happened because…, then privately shows the relevant card to the team that guessed.
- After guesses from the three teams, move on to the next room and repeat the process. If at any point a team thinks they definitely know the correct elements, they can make an accusation instead of a guess. In this case they use the language It must have been…, then privately check the cards in the envelope. If they are correct, they win and the game ends, but if they are incorrect, they can no longer make any guesses for the rest of the game (meaning they no longer roll the dice). However, they are still potentially required to disprove guesses.
The School Cluedo ESL activity is a fun, different way to practise modal verbs of past possibility. Because the language produced is of a fairly fixed nature, it works best with intermediate students who have recently been introduced to the grammar.
The School Cluedo ESL activity is also a great fit for the topic of crime. In this case, maybe you could incorporate some different vocabulary words for the action of the murder (e.g. attacked, strangled, suffocated, assaulted, beat, struck etc.). Be aware of your audience when doing this though!
For another fun activity that combines modal verbs of past possibility and the topic of crime, try Crime Scene Investigation.
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