Verb Olympics

Task Overview
This task takes about an hour.  It asks students to rank and draft verbs to perform in a variety of activities.  For beginners, this exercise can introduce basic verbs. For more advanced students, this activity provides them with a better awareness of the verbs in English and how they are used. 

Task Outcomes
  • Learn more about verbs and their usage
  • Communicate in speaking
  • Negotiate and choose
  • Perform and present 

  • 1 hour
  • Whiteboard

Set Up
  • Split students into 3-5 groups.

Team Goals

  • Teams must create the best win the most points in a series of events.


  • Groups brainstorm and list the 20 most important verbs.  
  • Groups write their 20 words on the board and erase all duplicates.

    Each group discusses and ranks the words from the list

  • Groups draft a maximum of 10 verbs

1.  Teams brainstorm and list the 20 most important verbs.

2.  All teams write their list on the board erasing any duplicates when needed.

3.  Teams discuss and rank the verbs on the board based on importance and frequency.

4.  Teams draft foods from the list.  

5.  Teams perform in a number of competitions:

Competition 1

Teams write a paragraph with only the verbs on their list.  The topic is chosen randomly by the teacher.  The team with the best paragraph wins a point.   

Competition 2

Each team uses the newspaper to find as many examples of the verbs on their list.  After 3 minutes,the team with the most examples receives a point.  

Competition 3

Each team must tell a story as a group.  The teacher chooses the topic of the story randomly.  However, the groups are not allowed to say the verbs from the other teams.  If they do, the other teams receives a point.  


  • Rules are establoshed by the teacher before each competition,and students are expected to follow those rules or lose points.  


  • The team with the most points wins.

Feedback and Reflection

  • Teacher should help students reflect on the importance of auxiliaries (can, have, go), phrasal verbs (get, check, turn), and verbs with multiple meanings (get, let).

Conversation Questions
  • Which activity was the most fun?
  • Which activity was the best for your team?
  • Which activity was the most difficult for your team?
  • Which activity would you add to this competition?
  • Which verb do you wish you had chosen?
  • Which verb did not make the list but is very important?

Task Variations

  • The verbs can be distributed equally based on the combined rankings of all groups.  This make the competitions more competitive, but it loses the aspect of students choosing their verbs.   

Emerging Language

  • When students rank the verbs, they will use comparatives and superlatives.
  • When students discuss the plan with the group, they will use opinion language (e.g. I think we should, What about if we, etc.)
  • Students will be constantly discussing language, so grammar will be addressed.

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