Can Fail Sentence Race

This activity has students making can/can't sentences using funny pictures that really emphasize the ability meaning of the can verb.

Archived from Englipedia.
Originally submitted by Brenton Gettmann on May 06, 2011.


  • CanFailSentenceRaceattachment: Print out and cut up the action cards. Put three action cards into envelopes.
  • Envelopes: Number them 1-9. Keep these in the front of the class with you. Make students come to you to get a new one.


After passing out the worksheets and putting the class into groups, show students all of the envelopes numbered from 1-9. Explain to them that these numbers should be matched up with their worksheet.

Pull the pictures out of an envelope for demonstration purposes and show them to the students. Choose any of the supplied pictures, I recommend one of the obvious can't ones. Read the English written on the card, and say, "He/She can/cant...well." Write it down on your paper (I recommend making an A3 of the worksheet and putting it on the board for the students to see you fill out the sentence).

Then translate it to Japanese (you and your teacher can reverse roles for the demo if you can't do the Japanese end of the demonstration) and put the picture back in the envelope. Run to your JTE and say the sentences that you wrote down. If they say, "OK" you grab the next envelope and pretend to empty it out.

After the demonstration, pass out one envelope to each group. (Tell them not to open it yet.) Have everyone play Janken. In clockwise order, the students must come to you or your JTE to say the answer to the picture in the envelope and show you their worksheet.

Double-check if students comprehend what to do. Then, start the game!

  • Students will empty their envelopes, looks at the picture and write an appropriate sentence similar to the ones in the example box.
  • The Janken winner then comes to you or your JTE and says their sentence with the translation.
  • If correct, give them an envelope to a number that has yet to be filled out on their worksheet.
  • After the group has written their next sentence, the next student comes to recite the sentence and translation.
  • As soon as a group has completed all of the questions, they raise their hands and you or your JTE go double check if they ALL wrote the sentences. If so, they win. (Award a prize if you feel like it)

Go over the answers with the whole class.


  • Make it mandatory for all of the students in the group to fill out their own worksheet, or they cannot win the game. Hard to motivate students usually give in and write the sentences because their groups force them.



Total 0

Estimated time: 20 min

Submitted by: Englipedia Archive

November 20, 2019


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