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Lesson #1739. Control Tower

Posted by Thad Schmenk, Matsuyama Board of Education, Japan
Language, level: Middle; Materials Required: blindfold, tape, black construction paper, stopwatch
Activity Time: 30 minutes; Concepts Taught: directions

Here is a game that I enjoyed when I was in junior high school.

The students will give verbal commands in the target language.
The students will follow verbal directions.
The students will demonstrate their mastery of the following vocabulary words: forward, backward, left, right, small, big, stop, step.


  1. Using tape, create an airport run-way on the floor of your classroom. The length should be around 10 steps or so. Make sure that there is enough room and that the students will not bump into anything should they lose their balance.
  2. Next, round up one or two blindfolds, a stop-watch and some black construction paper.
  3. After doing a TPR response activity to warm the students up, choose one student to be a plane and two students to be a control tower.
  4. Place the student who is acting as the plane at the beginning of the runway and blind fold him or her.
  5. Explain to the students that the two "control tower" students are to guide the plane to a safe landing by giving it clear and correct directions. The students should be able to give short commands such as go forward one step, stop, go left one step, stop, go forward three big steps, stop.
  6. Remind the students that going backward is not an option. The plane is going to fast to be able to go backwards.
  7. When the students are ready, quickly place some of the black construction paper on the runway. You can explain that these are areas were the run-way has deteriorated. (I usually say that there was a terrible earthquake, but the plane has to land in order to bring needed supplies to the area.) The plane is not allowed to step on the paper. If the plane's foot does touch a piece of paper, bamm, crash-landing.
  8. Time the group to see how long it takes for the control tower to land the plane. Keep track of the time and let the next group try to beat the best time. Just remember to change the construction paper around between groups.

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1739. Control Tower (Middle,Language)
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