inventions ESL game featured image

Fun inventions ESL game with 32 printable cards

Inventions ESL game

This is a wonderful ESL game all about inventions. It is useful for students to practice dates and general inventions vocabulary. It can be played in groups of 2 or more although 3 to 4 students per group is optimal.

The free printable playing cards have the invention name at the top and the date it was invented at the bottom. They also have pictures of the inventions to help lower-level learners.

How to play the inventions ESL game

To conduct the game you will need to print and cut out 1 or 2 sheets for every group playing. The idea of the game is to guess when things were invented and lay them correctly on a timeline. The timeline should have the earliest date on the left progressing up to the latest date on the right. The bigger the timeline gets the more difficult the game becomes.

Once groups or pairs are organized,  give each one a shuffled pile of cards face down.

  1. To start the game one card must be turned over and placed face-up on the table. For example, let’s say the motorcycle (invented in 1885) card is placed down.
  2. The first student must then take another card from the top of the pile and not show the other students. They must then ask the person to their left if they think the object on the card they are holding was invented before or after the motorcycle.
  3. The student on the left must respond by saying when they thought the object was invented (before or after the motorcycle).
  4. If the response is correct, the student gains a point and the card is laid down next to the motorcycle card in the correct position on the timeline.
  5. If the response is incorrect, the card is put away (no longer in play) and no point is awarded.
  6. The student who answered the question now takes another card and the process is repeated.
  7. Students should continue until all the cards have been used and then tally their points to find the winner.

TIP – If a student doesn’t understand an invention, the person holding the card can place their finger or thumb over the date to show the picture.

inventions esl game timeline example
Inventions ESL game variation

Another way to play this game is to get your class to arrange the inventions by age without the dates. To do this you can easily cut the dates off the bottom of the cards or simply write the inventions on the board.

To make it easier only give your students 10 inventions and ask them to rank them from one to ten. Ten being the oldest and 1 being the most recent date. This also works best as a group game.

Set a time limit and once it is up, check to see which winning team has the most correct answers!

Related activities

If your class enjoyed this game, be sure to have a look at the easy whiteboard games article for more fun activities!

For another invention related activity, there are the inventions writing activity worksheets.

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