Learn English with Logic Puzzles and Word Games
Can you teach English in an EFL class with logic puzzles and word games?
Sure. Every English class needs a little variety to keep things interesting and people motivated. Besides, puzzles and words games are great learning tools. Used in pairs or with the class as a whole, they focus attention on short reading passages with the goal of comprehension, encourage students to speak up, stimulate recall of long-forgotten words, and foster learning by helping students see patterns.
Here are five logic puzzles and word games which I have used with success in high-beginner to intermediate ESL conversation classes as sponge activities or 10-minute diversions.
1 Monkey in the Well
This is a popular puzzle, so don’t be surprised if your students know the answer. That is not the point. The objective is to explain the answer with a degree of precision.
There is a monkey at the bottom of a well. The well is 30 meters deep. Each morning, the monkey climbs up three meters. Every evening, the monkey slides down two meters. There is no water in the well and there are no tools. How long will it take the monkey to get out of the well?
2. Five Words
Look at these five words: red, gray, brown, black, pink. Can you name at least five things these words have in common?
3. Unusual Words
- What musical word is written with the letters xop in a row?
- What common word has three u’s?
- Read these four words aloud: buffet, ballet, whistle, castle. What do these words have in common?
- Make four words using these letters: itde.
- Name four words with a silent b.
- Name two words that rhyme with pool, ground and goal.
4. Number Conundrum
Here are three groups of numbers.
- 7, 14, 21
- 9, 18, 27
- 10, 20, 300
There is one pattern that explains the change in the numbers for all three groups. What is the pattern?
5. Buckets of Water
This classic logic puzzle, made famous in an old Die Hard movie, requires students to think through several operations and give a step by step answer.
You are standing beside a well with two buckets. One bucket holds five liters. The other bucket holds three liters. How can you get exactly four liters of water using only these two buckets? You have no other tools and the buckets have no measurement lines.
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