You sunk my battleship! It's an absolute classic and the source of many a family bust up, divorce etc. Battleships is a fun and tense game that lends itself well to practising questions with 2 variables. We have used it for "Do you brush your teeth on Thursdays, do you study English on Fridays" in this example. By all means, you can adapt it to anything suitable.


Number of learners:  Any even number

Time:  20 minutes

Student type: aged 9-12, aged 12-15, aged 16+

Type: active game,

Materials: Printable game map and battleships, scissors, blue tac (or glue)

Language: Any language where you have two variables e.g. I wake up/brush my teeth on Mondays/Tuesdays.



Why play this game?

  • Ensures student to student throughout
  • Gives you time to correct pronunciation as the learners are enjoying themselves
  • Can bring in a healthy competitive element to the class

How to play

  • Preparation- Print off the worksheets, one per student (or you can put students in pairs or threes to form an ‘armada’) Construct a screen to help keep secrecy of the ships with one team either side
  • Hand out the battleships grid and draw a mock up on the board. Begin to elicit some of your target language by using drawings at the top of the columns (e.g. draw a toothbrush and elecit ‘brush your teeth’. When students understanding the lexical set you’re studying you can invite them to do some board drawings.
  • Set your 2nd variable in the rows, for example days of the week. Make sure all the students copy down the same drawings in the relevant columns and the same data in the rows
  • Point to an empty square on the board and model the question. (this may be “do you brush your teeth on Tuesdays?”)
  • Elicit some more questions to check understanding. Draw a battleship onto a 2 squares on the board. Point at an occupied square and eleicit the question then answer with “yes I do” etc and feigning horror as your blow up this part of the ship.
  • Point to an unoccupied square, elicit the question and then reply with “no I don’t” to demonstrate the difference.
  • Elicit one more question to sink your boarded battleship and teach the phrase “you sunk my battleship!”
  • Instruct the learners to cut out the battleships and emphasising the secracy element, hide them on the battlefield using the blu tac or tape
  • Play rock paper scissors for who asks the first question
  • Monitor the game as each team searches for the battleships by asking the question structure you’ve taught. Teams should make a note of questions they’ve asked to increase their chances of getting a hit



Download the plan




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *