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Can/Does Mastermind


SUBMITTED BY: Kirsten Phillips


EDITED BYFiona Steele

GRAMMAR: Helping Verb: Can

EXAMPLE: Doraemon can dance.

DATE ADDED: Feb 14, 2008


35-50 min.
3 Votes: 3.5 Stars

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BRIEF OUTLINE: Students play a simplified mastermind using 'can' and 'does'.





  1. Hand every student a copy of the game sheet so they can see their playing field and have everyone look at the chalkboard as you and the JTE demonstrate on the large printouts. First, explain the words in the word box and make sure all students can pronounce and understand them. Explain that you can make various combinations of sentences using the words above. However, stress that each word may be used only once per sentence and they must make sense (be in the correct order).
  2. The ALT and the JTE are opponents. With markers, each create their own sentences and write them on lines 1-4 below. Emphasise that your partner cannot see your paper whilst you are writing. When both ALT and the JTE are finished, both turn their backs on their papers and play janken .
  3. The winner must now try to guess the first sentence written on the opponent’s paper. Of course, the first guess will be a shot in the dark. It is useful for the guesser to write down his guess in the writing space provided below. For every wrong answer, the janken loser will make a check mark in the Guesses box on his sheet.
  4. If the winner guesses one word correct in any of the boxes, the loser must tell him. For example, the loser’s #1 guess might be: "
    Kirsten/can’t/dance". But, the winner must guess: "Doraemon/can’t/cook". The loser gives a hint to the winner by saying. “B ok. A and C, not yet.” Now, the guesser may rule out B and keep trying for A and C until he gets the entire sentence right.
  5. The winner must guess again as many times as it takes until he gets #1 completely right.
  6. They move on until the very last sentence is narrowed down (#4 will be obvious). The guesser must pay attention to what has already been said (so as not to waste guesses), whilst the loser should tally how many guesses are made (that is the score).
  7. When the winner finishes guessing all his opponent’s questions, they switch. The winner of the game is whoever finishes with the fewest total guesses.



  • Make sure to go over the target language.
  • I strongly recommend using your school’s poster printer to print two large copies of the game sheet to demonstrate the instructions in detail.
  • I recommend students use pencils for this game.



  • If using this game as a warm-up, set a time limit and have the players switch turns after every correct guess, rather than have the winner guess all sentences before switching.
  • This game may be a little challenging for some students as it requires writing and speaking skills. Be patient.
  • This game can get very time-consuming so try to get your explanation executed as efficiently as possible in the beginning to give kids enough time to really work at it.
  • It might sounds complicated, but my third graders enjoyed this one so much I had them challenging me to encore rounds during lunchtime.

If you have an updated worksheet, email it to the site: admin (at) epedia (dot) onmicrosoft (dot) com


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This page was last modified on Monday, February 27, 2012 09:11:59 PM