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Questions Othello

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Questions Othello


David Hanley


GRADE LEVEL: Elementary 3-6
SKILLS: Speaking
TIME: 45 minutes
MATERIALS: Worksheets, two-sided counters, large demonstration board and counters
OBJECTIVES: To practice forming and saying longer sentences




1. Start by drawing large grids of five squares by five squares (at least) on A4 paper. Above each column write the name of a subject (English, Mathematics and so on) and alongside each row write the name of an animal (goat, giraffe, etc.)


2. Next you have to make counters for the game, they have to be two-sided, i.e. each side has to be a different colour. If you can’t find cards already made like this, then it’s probably easiest to get very large sheets and cut and stick together over and over. In the game all squares will be covered, so that’s twenty-five for each board. I made eight boards so this meant groups of four children playing (two against two).


3. You need to make a big example board to demonstrate to the children with the teacher. It will only take a short demonstration before the children realize that the game is based on othello.


4. So how do you play othello? One player starts by saying, for example “I like English and tigers” and they place their counter down on the appropriate square with their colour face up. Then the opposing player does the same, with a different combination of subject and animal. With groups of more than two the pupils will obviously rotate. The object of the game is to have more squares on the board covered with your colour when all squares are filled.


5. Now the important tactical part. If a player places a piece beside an opponent’s piece, and that same player has another piece on the other side (i.e. the opponent’s piece is between two of the other player’s) then that piece is turned over. It doesn’t matter if it’s horizontal, vertical or diagonal. What’s more, many pieces can be trapped and turned over at the one time. The children will all know how to play so don’t worry about explaining this.




  • You’ll have to be vigilant with the children that they are actually saying the required sentence. With the younger pupils this shouldn’t be a problem, but the older pupils will be very tactical about how they play the game. They will concentrate so much on placement that they may well ignore the English language requirement entirely. Furthermore, they may well take a very long time to play and not finish in the allotted time, so try to start as early with them as possible.


  • The example given here was for “I like…” sentences. You could, of course, change the sentence structure and vocabulary to reflect the ability and age of the pupils.


  • The game does not follow the exact rules of real othello, as there are no starting pieces and the players are free to place their pieces anywhere at any time. If you wanted, you could implement the real rules (and an full-size board) for the older pupils.

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