Posted in: Teacher Resources Forum

For grammar or vocab practise, any level.  1-1 tutoring, tutor can play with the S.


T prepared list of questions, or a dice with grammar cues.


T briefly revises the grammar point to be practised, with the Ss.

Draw a 4x4 grid on the board, mark the rows A-D and the columns 1-4.

Explain how to choose a square, practise – A1= square at the top left corner

Explain the goal is for a team to win one line – horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

T chooses three squares (and keeps the squares a secret!) 

– two where the player is swallowed by the earthquake (lose their square)

– one where the player is rescued from the rubble, and the team gets the square free

Explain idea of ‘earthquake’ squares to the Ss!

Divide the class into two teams.  Choose a colour or mark for each team, to mark winning squares.

How to play:


  1. The first player/team chooses their square, the T asks the question and the student answers, or roles the dice and the player makes a sentence.  (this can be individual or teamwork).  Ss can either say the sentence, or write it on the board.  If the sentence is correct the team wins the square.
  2. The other team listens and challenges if the sentence is not correct.  If they can correct the sentence, they can score the square.
  3. If a player chooses an ‘earthquake’ square, they celebrate the victory or bear the consequences!
  4. First team to win a line, wins!
7 Comments for : Earthquake
    • Linda Drage
    • January 4, 2017

    This game would be suitable for the completion of a lesson before they go to a break, nice way to finish off on a positive and fun way. Possibly best suited to a smallish class of perhaps 8 to 10 students so the the teams are not too big, that way that all get too participate. The game does promote three of the essential language skills of, listening, speaking and some writing. I think it is a game that once the rules are learnt then students would wish to repeat again

    • Kevin Hayward
    • January 18, 2017

    Sounds a useful game for younger clients. Not certain that my older clients would appreciate it. Good as a fill in or end of session group event, definitely not for my face to face sessions

  1. This would be an enjoyable activity to liven up a lesson on a grammar point. The earthquake concept adds interest to a simple game.
    It would be best played with a class size of up to twelve students and the class being divided into two teams.
    It is suitable for all ages and levels. It is important that the questions be somewhat difficult to answer otherwise the game would become routine.

    • Mark
    • May 3, 2017

    As mentioned, this looks ideal for younger students and small class sizes. After students are comfortable with the concept, the grid could be extended to include review topics from earlier lessons and harsher consequences. It’s a good template to build on.

  2. This seems to be an enjoyable activity for one-on-one as well as group classes. While younger students would enjoy this activity more, adult students too would enjoy it, because of its competitive nature and the three secret squares which will keep the teams on their toes!

  3. The idea of this game seems engaging and a great exit ticket from a lesson. Perhaps as an ongoing activity you could include extension questions with bonus points so that the teams or individuals are playing for the win but also playing for bonus points that may keep the ‘competitive’ aspect alive! This also encourages students to revise and actively extend their knowledge and understanding of the grammar point.

    • Jonathan Boyd
    • July 2, 2017

    Sounds like a fun way to end a lesson or introduce a break to the class! I can imagine students both young or old would be engaged with this because of the competitive side to the game. The incentive of securing a square with a correct answer (and not wanting others to challenge) is also a great way to make sure students will have revised properly and understand the chosen grammar/vocab for the lesson.

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