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Teacher Edition (Classroom Logistics): Trap Words – 44

Teacher Edition (Classroom Logistics): Trap Words- an ESL Vocabulary Game

Episode Overview

In this “Teacher Edition” episode of Board Gaming with English, Dustin talks about the game Trap Words by Czech Games Edition. This is an amazing game to use in class to help students review vocabulary or conceptual knowledge about different topics. It is also a riot to play with friends!

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Quick Overview: How to Play?

Trap Words is a word game that can be used to review different vocabulary, concepts, or terminology from your lesson. In the game, there are two teams who are competing to make it to the end of the dungeon to defeat the dungeon monster.

To start the game, separate the players into two different teams. Each team will draw a card with a list of words on them. Place the word in the given “spell book” to display the word.

Each team will draw one card.

Teams will come up with words the other team cannot use to describe the word. In the example, the blue team’s word is “walrus.” Now, they will evantually give this word to the red team. The red team’s clue giver will have to get his or her team to guess the word, “walrus” So, the blue team should think of some trap words, or words the clue-giver cannot say to help his or her team guess the word.

The card is inserted into a special book to show the team the word.

For example, the blue team will write the trap words, “teeth,” “fat,” “ocean,” and “animal.” Then they will pass the book with the word “walrus” to the red team. As the red team’s clue giver tries to get his team to guess the word “walrus,” he or she cannot use the words “teeth,” “fat,” “ocean,” and “animal.”

To win this round, the red team needs to guess “walrus” by only using 5 guesses, before time runs out, and without saying any of the trap words (“teeth,” “fat,” “ocean,” or “animal”). If they do this, they advance through the dungeon. If they do not guess it in 5 guesses, time runs out, or they say a trap word, they stay in the same room.

In this case, the red team did not guess the word, so they did not advance. The blue team did guess the word, so they moved forward. Now, the blue team is in a two-word trap word. So, the red team can only write down two trap words.

There are some other rules to the game as well: The number of trap words the other team can write is determined by the room the other team is in (see the numbers in the rooms in the example above). Also, there are curses (see below) that slow down the winning team. The boss also has a special power, and if neither team advances by guessing the word, the boss moves towards the two teams (see below).

In this example, the curse requires the team to not use any word that starts with an “s.” And the final boss in the dungeon is the dragon, which requires the team to only use 3 guesses instead of 5.

Classroom Logistics

Now, the pieces of this game are a little difficult to implement in class. So, we suggest applying the mechanics and components of the game to fit your classroom. To keep track of the clue givers, you can use the red and blue torches provided in the game. To keep tack of the dungeon room the players are in, I usually draw a diagram (see below) on the board with a printed dragon (or other monster) at the end of the dungeon.

Hopefully, you have some better artistic skills than I do! Or you can find printable characters to use online!

This game can be used to review vocabulary from your lessons, or terminology that is part of the unit you are covering in class. Students need to use creative thinking to be able to explain terms and vocabulary by avoiding potential trap words.

The game is played best at no more than 5 or 6 players per team. If you have a large classroom, it can be used as a part of a station activity. If you are unfamiliar with station learning, be sure to check out this article by Room 241.

Why is it a Great Game?

This game is a blast! Outside of the classroom, it is a lot of fun to play with friends or family. However, in the classroom, it is a great game because the mechanics of the game naturally transfer over to established learning frameworks and classroom management paradigms.

Learning Framework: This game is great because everyone is involved during the game. For example, if your content area is history and you are currently teaching the Civil War. The red team could draw the term “The Union.” This is the term that the blue team will have to guess. So, the red team will have to consider this term first by thinking of words the blue team may use to describe “The Union,” so they may write “north,” “Abe Lincoln,” and “slaves.” The blue team will be doing the same thing for another term.

Classroom Management: It is a great game to classroom management because as the other team is guessing the word, the team that is not guessing will have certain responsibilities to track like the timer, listening to guesses, and counting the number of guesses. The game even suggests, if the team misses a trap word, and does not call the other team out, then they “sneak past” the trap! This is great for making sure everyone on the team is listening to the other team guess.

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