Horizontally Challenged

Students race their teams’ animals horizontally across the chalkboard by answering questions asked by you. However, the added excitement comes from the mysterious bonus and pitfall cards.

Archived from Englipedia.
Originally submitted by Natasha Anders / Charlotte Steggall on Nov 7, 2007.


  • Cutouts of animals or Mario Kart characters (not included): For the MK characters, see the variation below.
  • 20 magnetized numbered cards: Prepare a question for each card, keeping in mind the topic or grammar point the students are reviewing. Throw in a few general knowledge questions as well. Also, prepare five Question Mark cards. These are 'Mystery' - each colour represents a bonus or pitfall. Some examples of things I wrote on the Mystery cards are: 3 moves forward, give 2 moves to any other group, gain three moves if the entire group says “she sells seashells…” 3 times, lose 3 moves, etc. Allocate 1-3 points to each card. Finally, scatter a few bonuses and pitfalls in amongst the regular numbered cards too – to keep it interesting and tense.
  • 5 magnetized question mark cards, each one a different colour.


  • After drawing horizontal lines on the board, one for each group and notching them off 1-20, stick the numbered and Question Mark cards on the board.
  • Have a representative from each group play Janken to determine which group gets first pick on the animals!
  • Once each group has chosen an animal picture, place them at the beginning of their respected horizontal line.
  • Have the JTE choose the first number and you ask the question that corresponds with that number.
  • The group that correctly answers the question will have their animal advance by however many points the question is worth.
  • That group gets to choose the next number.
  • The winner of the game is the group whose animal is the furthest along the line by the time you run out of questions or time.


  • You could turn it into a command game, with each number being an instruction for students to do something. For example, "Bring me three things that start with the letter P,” or “Count how many windows are in the room and write the answer – in ENGLISH – on the board,” etc. The group which completes the task first receives the point/s.

Charlotte Steggall's Variation:

  • You'll need pictures of the main Mario Kart characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Kupa/Bowser and Yoshi. You'll also need magnets to affix the pictures to the board.
  • Start by writing "Stage 1-5" plus a Finishing Line on the board.
  • Each line of students is a team, with their own Mario Kart character. I got them to choose their characters by fanning them out face down and asking the first person to pick one. NOTE: When Kupa is picked, explain that he is actually called Bowser in the West. They'll love this gaming related culture point!
  • After the characters are chosen, affix them to the board, just before "Stage 1" and get the first row of students to stand up.
  • Ask a general question, similar to Englipedia's Criss-Cross questions: How old are you? When is your birthday? What day is it tomorrow? etc. If a student can answer it, they raise their hand..
  • If they answer correctly, they turn to the next person in their line and ask them a question using the grammar you wish to be practiced. In my case this was "Do you...with...?": "Do you play tennis with your family?"
  • The next student answers, "Yes, I do." or "No, I don't." and then stands up, letting the first person sit down. You move their character one stage along the blackboard each time one student sits down and the next one stands up.
  • The first team to get their character to Stage 5 is the winner and that team receives one point. Play until the students become bored.


I know it’s a lot of work, but you can use the numbered cards for anything afterwards. Don’t put your questions on the back of the numbered cards; instead type a list of questions/bonuses/pitfalls to correspond with the numbers or Mystery cards. It's a bit like jeopardy but the kids get a huge kick out of watching their animals progressing across the board.

If you do decide to turn it into a command game, it’s best to have the kids play janken within their groups to decide the order in which each member will play. That way everybody has the opportunity to participate (this also eliminates the possibility of having the same kid answering every single question)



Total 0

Estimated time: 35-50 min

Submitted by: Englipedia Archive

June 30, 2019


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