Relay Scramble

In the Relay Scramble ESL game, students race to unscramble words/ sentences by grabbing one letter/word at a time.

Students for Relay Scramble ESL Game:8+Time for Relay Scramble ESL Game:10-20 mins
Resources for Relay Scramble ESL Game:
Cut-up Words/Sentences; Balloon (Optional)

Students play this game in teams of four to eight.

Print a list of words/sentences, each with at least eight letters/words. Make one copy for each team playing. Cut the words/sentences up into individual letters/words, keeping each one in a separate bundle.

In class, divide your class into the teams. The teams each stand at a desk, with all of those desks at one side of the room.

Set up another desk/chair/bucket/box for each team, on the other side of the room. This is the ‘collection point’, where players will take letters/words from. Clear a space between the sets of desks so that the students can walk/run between them safely.

  1. Take the bundles for one word/sentence, and arrange the letters/words randomly at each collection point (so they cannot be read).
  2. When you say go, the teams race to collect the letters/words one at a time. Like a normal relay, each student can only depart once the previous student has arrived back. If you only have a small space and you want to slow your students down (or just make it less of a running race), the students collecting the words could have to keep a balloon between their legs while they do it.
  3. In the meantime, the other students in the team try to order the word/sentence as the parts arrive. The team that finds the correct order first wins a point for that round. For words, it may be possible to guess before all the letters are collected. If you allow this, teams that guess incorrectly should be frozen out of the round.
  4. Repeat with different words/sentences for future rounds. The team that has the most points at the end of the game wins.
Target Language

The Relay Scramble ESL game is a special version of Word Scramble or Sentence Scramble, designed for active students. Normally it’s most suited to kids, but it could work with adults in a special class around the holidays.

You could use this game as a warmer, and/or adapt it to a specific grammar or vocabulary with your word/sentence selection. It works best with beginner or lower intermediate students who will benefit from practising spelling/sentence structures like this.

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